PETALING JAYA: Starting today, arrivals from abroad and those who have had close contact with a person infected with Covid-19 will need to be quarantined for 10 days instead of 14 days.
The move to shorten the quarantine period came about after reviewing scientific evidence on the disease and looking at the practices of other countries, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.
“The latest clinical scientific evidence shows that the risk of post-quarantine infections reduces in accordance with the length of the quarantine period.
“The highest risk of infection is in the first week of exposure, ” he added.
Thus, he said the monitoring and observation period for travellers from abroad, as well as close contact tracing management would be shortened to 10 days instead of 14 days.
Dr Noor Hisham cited examples in Britain, Germany and Belgium, which had shortened the quarantine periods to 10 days while in France, the quarantine period was only seven days.
The 14-day quarantine period was recommended after the World Health Organisation and other experts estimated that the incubation period for the virus was between two and 14 days.
Studies also suggested that the average time for symptoms to appear after exposure to the virus was five days.
In a statement yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham also said that the number of recoveries had exceeded new infections, with 1,309 patients having been discharged from hospitals.
There were 1,229 new Covid-19 yesterday, bringing the total caseload to 83,475.
This means that there were 13,667 active cases.
The death toll stands at 415, following the latest four deaths that were recorded.
Those who died were aged between 29 and 83, with one of them being a male foreigner who died at Hospital Sungai Buloh in Selangor.
Dr Noor Hisham said 115 patients were being treated in intensive care units with 65 of them requiring ventilators.
Selangor continues to top the nation’s list, having the highest number of infections at 435 cases or 35.4% of the country’s total cases –followed by Sabah with 333 cases and Kuala Lumpur at 131.
“Some 79.1% of the cases in Selangor were detected through clusters and close contact tracing activities, ” he said.
He also said 16.3% of the new cases were linked to clusters in detention centres and prisons.
Dr Noor Hisham also said that four clusters had ended, which were the Wisma Saberkas cluster in Sarawak, the Sauh and Basung clusters in Sabah and the Auto cluster in Selangor.
However, six more new clusters were identified.
They are Hujung Pasir (involving a workplace) in Labuan, Lestari (involving a high-risk group) in Selangor, Desa Idaman (a religious cluster in Johor), the Rimbun construction site in Seremban, Tanjung Suria (which involved a workplace) in Selangor and Kuala (also at a workplace) in Pahang.
Dr Noor Hisham said that the three clusters that contributed the most number of cases were Tembok (103), Seruling (93) and Rumah Merah (78).
The Health Ministry is now monitoring 191 active clusters.
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