Reports by HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM, MARTIN CARVALHO and TARRENCE TAN
THE blanket ban not to allow citizens from countries with more than 150,000 Covid-19 cases was an early measure that had since been reversed after more information was received and new risk analysis carried out, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof.
He said the decision to issue a blanket ban was made at that time as there was insufficient data on the spread and containment measures taken by other countries.
“It was then decided to issue the ban to protect Malaysians because we were worried about the rise in cases overseas, as well as the risk of the disease spreading into the country, ” Redzuan said in reply to Dr Ong Kian Ming (PH-Bangi) who asked why the blanket ban policy was implemented for all citizens, including those with valid entry permits such as Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) participants and expatriate workers.
Redzuan said during the ban, the government received the latest information and did another round of risk analysis.
Following that, the authorities allowed expatriates and professional visit pass holders from 23 countries to enter Malaysia, reversing the move made on Sept 7, he added.
Redzuan said the expatriates needed to submit their applications to the Immigration Department and provide supporting documents from relevant ministries or agencies.
They also must undergo the 14-day quarantine at the quarantine stations provided by the government.
“The government will continue to study and look into this matter from time to time to allow entry of those from targeted countries by using the travel bubble concept, ” he said.
Redzuan added that the entry ban on foreigners entering Malaysia was done based on a “scoring board” which was able to provide a clearer picture on the risk of import Covid-19 cases into Malaysia.
Among the criteria used for the scoring board to evaluate the risk included the number of cases in the past 14 days, the incident of cases for every one million citizens in 14 days, death rates for every one million people in 14 days, death cases and recovery index.
“The number of import cases will have a significant impact to Malaysia as they will then use facilities in the country to treat the cases when in actual fact, the infection happened overseas.
“This will disrupt government healthcare services here because our main priority and responsibility is to provide the best healthcare, including Covid-19 treatment, to Malaysians, ” he said.