Compulsory testing of foreign staff in all states


PUTRAJAYA: The mandatory Covid-19 screening for foreign workers that currently applies to six states will be expanded nationwide, the government has announced.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who employed foreign workers anywhere in the country would be required to send their workers for testing.

He, however, did not say when this latest ruling will take effect.

The government earlier made it mandatory for foreign workers in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Labuan to be screened for the coronavirus, effective Jan 1. Cost for the tests are to be borne by their employers.

Ismail Sabri said the Human Resources Ministry had informed the government that 7,796 foreign workers were screened on Tuesday, with 82 testing positive.

Cumulatively since Dec 1, a total of 218,409 foreign workers underwent Covid-19 screening, with 4,233 testing positive, he added.

Speaking at his daily press briefing yesterday, Ismail Sabri said the government had yet to decide on the next course of action after the current movement control order ends on Feb 4.

He said there were opposing views on whether a full lockdown should be enforced, with those for it saying that this would rapidly reduce the number of cases.

“But we also hear from those who don’t agree with this, especially those who depend on daily wages and income to survive because such a lockdown will affect their livelihood, ” he added.

He said if a stricter MCO was enforced and the economy having to close, 2.8 million people were at the risk of losing their jobs and 2.5 million others would have their income affected.

“The loss of income among the B40 category within a month is estimated at RM6.45bil or an average of RM2,400 per family.

“We have to consider both the health as well as the economic aspect. The National Security Council special meeting will listen to the views of the Health Ministry, Finance Ministry and Bank Negara Malaysia.

“Once we have come up with a decision, an announcement will be made, ” he said.

Currently, all states with the exception of Sarawak are placed under an MCO.

Ismail Sabri also had some comforting news for married couples living apart due to the MCO – starting today, they will be allowed to travel interstate to meet up with their spouses and families.

He said couples living apart due to their jobs had appealed to the government to allow them to cross state borders.

However, he said police permission was still required before they make their journeys, adding that those with symptoms are advised to do a swab test first.

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