Returning Malaysians can serve quarantine at home as coronavirus restrictions ease: Minister

A woman arrives at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 17, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR /ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysians returning to the country from overseas will be able to self-isolate at their own homes, instead of government-approved quarantine centres nationwide, starting from Wednesday (June 10).

Malaysian Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that from that day, Malaysian returnees will undergo a swab test upon arrival at airports.

"If they test positive for Covid-19, they will be sent to hospitals for treatment," he said on Sunday. "However, it the result is negative, they will be allowed to go home to undergo the compulsory 14-day quarantine."

The returnees, he said, would be required to download the MySejahtera app that would be used to monitor their compliance to quarantine rules.

"It is also mandatory for them to wear a quarantine wristband for identification," Mr Ismail Sabri said.

"Anyone who fails to adhere to the compulsory quarantine requirements and SOP will be brought to court and fined RM1,000 (S$326)."

The decision to allow home quarantine for Malaysian returnees was made after taking into account the rate of Covid-19 infection in other countries, which has been under control, he added.

"The government has also been able to increase its capacity to conduct Covid-19 screenings at international entry points, " he said.

Compliance to the compulsory 14-day quarantine will be monitored by the authorities via the MySejahtera app, he added.

Asked whether there is a proper waiting area for the returnees should the swab tests at airports take a long time, Mr Ismail Sabri said that under the Rapid Test Kit Antigen (RTK Antigen) method, results could be obtained within one to two hours.

"If it is a longer wait, we will place the returnees at quarantine centres pending test results."

As of 8am on Sunday, 156 quarantine centres were operational, Mr Ismail Sabri said.

"On Saturday, 37 Malaysians returned to the country and were placed under mandatory quarantine, " he said.

Since the government-mandated quarantine at designated centres was implemented on April 3,50,873 Malaysians had been placed under quarantine after their return to the country from abroad. Of the total, 40,805 Malaysians completed their quarantine and were allowed to go home.

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