PETALING JAYA: All those returning to Malaysia from overseas will have to undergo their mandatory quarantine at hotels or quarantine centres starting Friday (July 24), says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The Defence Minister said that this applied to both Malaysians and non-citizens who have been allowed to come into the country.
Ismail Sabri said during a press conference on Tuesday (July 21) that they will have to bear the full cost of the quarantine.
He added that Malaysians who wanted to return home no longer had to undergo a Covid-19 swab test three days before their flight from overseas.
Non-citizens would however still have to take their swab tests three days before boarding their flights.
From June 10, the government allowed returnees who tested negative upon arrival in the country to undergo their mandatory quarantine at home.
Before that, anyone returning to Malaysia had to undergo their quarantine at designated centres.
Ismail Sabri said that from June 10 to July 20, a total of 22,480 had returned to Malaysia via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), with 22,402 individuals ordered to undergo home quarantine while 78 were brought to the hospital.
He added that in recent days, the spread of Covid-19 was increasing globally and contributed to the increase in the cases here when Malaysians returned home from these areas.
"The government finds that there are individuals who violated the SOP and the rules of mandatory quarantine at home and it is this attitude that increases the risk of local transmissions, ” he said.
Recently, five cases have been detected in the “Novgorod cluster", with the first case being a Malaysian who returned from Russia on July 5.
He had tested negative for the virus, but then on July 7 began to display symptoms of the disease such as fever and breathing difficulties.
A second test for the disease turned up positive, with one of his family members then also testing positive for Covid-19.
Ismail Sabri also said that medical tourists will be allowed to enter the country but must undergo Covid-19 screening before departure.
Ismail Sabri said medical tourists from green zone countries, which includes Brunei, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand will be allowed to enter Malaysia via commercial flights to get medical treatment in the country.
"However, the permission to cross-border (travel) will be based on a discussion between the Foreign Ministry and the countries involved. Upon arrival, the tourists will be immediately brought to the hospital for treatment," he said.