Dr Noor Hisham: Don’t ease borders, tighten it

PUTRAJAYA: With imported Covid-19 cases on the rise, Malaysia is looking at tightening borders.

The Health Ministry is monitoring the situation in countries like South Korea, which had seen a sharp increase in cases, said director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic).

“We are seeing an increase in imported cases here. We are also concerned about countries such as South Korea, which once upon a time, managed to keep their cases under control.

“They have just reported 2,600 cases within 10 days. We are also seeing the same thing in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

“We need to be vigilant. The recommendation should not be to ease the border, but to tighten it, ” Dr Noor Hisham said at the ministry’s Covid-19 press conference here.

Out of 50 confirmed cases recorded in Malaysia since Aug 20,24 are imported cases.

Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham announced that there are 11 new cases – nine local transmissions and two imported. The imported cases involve a Malaysian returning from the Philippines and a foreigner arriving from Indonesia.

Five of the local transmission cases are linked to the Tawar cluster, which brings the total of cases related to the cluster to 70.

The five are identified as school children in Kedah and are close contacts of Patient 9,197, a six-year-old girl who tested positive on Aug 16.

The Tawar cluster’s index case (Patient 9,113) is a 53-year-old man who tested positive for the virus on Aug 12.

He has a history of attending a funeral gathering on July 31 to Aug 1, which was attended by family members.

The cluster, which spans three generations, caused 59 confirmed cases in Kedah and 11 cases in Penang.

On another matter, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry’s top management had been kept in the dark on the quarantine breach issue involving Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.

“All of us here, we were not informed of this. We only learnt of it last week when it was raised by the media, so we instructed an internal investigation. It’s important for our frontliners that whatever happened at the ground level must be relayed to us and the superiors so that we can take action, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham was asked to comment on the RM1,000 compound that was issued to Khairuddin on Aug 7 for not undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon returning from Turkey.

“We will leave all the investigating to the police now as they will do the necessary action. Hopefully, they will do a good job, ” he said.

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