Coronavirus: Singapore and Malaysia align protocols for border screening, return of travellers exhibiting symptoms

People with face masks at Woodlands checkpoint in Singapore on March 17, 2020. Singapore and Malaysia have agreed on applying the same cut-off of 37.5 deg C for the definition of travellers with a fever.
People with face masks at Woodlands checkpoint in Singapore on March 17, 2020. Singapore and Malaysia have agreed on applying the same cut-off of 37.5 deg C for the definition of travellers with a fever.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Malaysia have agreed on a set of protocols for the return of travellers who fail entry health screenings at border checkpoints.

The two countries also agreed on applying the same cut-off of 37.5 deg C for the definition of travellers with a fever at the second meeting of the Singapore-Malaysia joint working group on Tuesday (March 24).

The joint working group, which was set up to facilitate greater cross-border cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, was meeting for the second time, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday. It conducted its first meeting in Johor Baru last month.

The latest meeting took place via video conference, as Malaysia is in the midst of a partial lockdown that has been extended by two weeks to April 14.

So far, the joint working group has agreed to continue entry screenings by both countries, activate networks for experts to exchange information on the clinical management of patients, as well as share surveillance data to trace travellers' movements.

The group also agreed on Tuesday to continue health-related discussions relating to the exchange of people, goods and services between both countries during the partial lockdown separately under a special working committee set up recently, said the ministry.

The meeting on Tuesday was co-chaired by Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min, who recently also co-chaired a video conference between Asean and the European Union on the coronavirus, and Malaysia's Deputy Minister for Health Haji Noor Azmi Ghazali.

They tasked the senior officials of the joint working group to coordinate the continued screening at land and sea borders, MOH said.

As of 12pm on Wednesday, Malaysia has recorded 1,756 confirmed cases, while Singapore's MOH said on Tuesday night that the country has 558 cases.

 

The joint working group is planning to meet again next month.