‘Sabah returnees must serve 14-day home quarantine’

PUTRAJAYA: Those returning from Sabah must undergo 14 days of home quarantine even if they tested negative for Covid-19, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said this was because the number of cases involving Sabah returnees continued to rise despite the Health Ministry’s screening and plea for self-regulation.

“Even though the Health Ministry has screened individuals who had arrived from Sabah from Sept 27 and issued the Home Surveillance Order (HSO) to them until their tests show negative, new cases and Covid-19 clusters related to this group continue to rise.

“To solve this issue, and considering the rise in Sabah cases, all arrivals from the state must be screened for Covid-19 and put under HSO for 14 days from their arrival date.

“They must put on a wristband and must self-regulate using the Home Assessment Tool in the MySejahtera app,” he said.

Previously, returnees from Sabah who are asymptomatic and have had no contact with any Covid-19 positive cases can be free from quarantine once they tested negative.

However, those who tested negative but are close contacts of Covid-19 patients or have symptoms have to undergo quarantine.

Dr Noor Hisham said up to yesterday, 394 Covid-19 cases in the country were attributed to individuals with recent travel history to Sabah since Sept 22.

In the same period, a total of 18,748 individuals who had returned from the state had been screened for Covid-19.

“Out of the total 394 cases, 228 or 57.9% involved individuals who had travelled to Sabah before Sept 27. The remaining 166 cases or 42.1% are those who returned after Sept 27,” he said, adding that up till yesterday, 23 of the Covid-19 clusters in the country originated from index cases who travelled to Sabah recently.

Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham confirmed 660 new infections in the country, the second highest daily figure since the outbreak began and Sabah continued to record the highest with 443 cases, followed by Selangor with 76 and Kedah with 60 new cases.

Six new clusters have been detected with four in Sabah and one each in Selangor and Penang.

The Semarak and Sabindo clusters in Tawau reported 14 new positive cases respectively while the Bina cluster in Beaufort 14 and the Bestari cluster in Sandakan 19.

In the Penang’s Penjara Jawi cluster, three individuals tested positive so far, with all them not showing any symptoms.

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