Three-day ruling for returning ministers only allowed if certain conditions met: Health DG

PETALING JAYA: Cabinet Ministers returning from official trips overseas only qualify for the three-day observation period if they meet certain conditions, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

"Before they depart, they would need to submit an application to the Cabinet and once that is approved, we will look at the official business listed in their schedule as well as standard operating procedure," he said, adding that a risk assessment is conducted once the minister's application and travel itinerary are submitted.

Additionally, he said, ministers need to travel in a private jet. Travelling on commercial flights would make them ineligible for the three-day quarantine period.

Dr Noor Hisham added that the schedule must also be short, tight and not involve many people in public places.

"If they don't meet any of these criteria, then they are subject to the 10-day quarantine rule," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said this in response to a federal gazette signed by Health Minister Datuk Seri Adham Baba which states that Cabinet ministers who are returning from any official overseas visits will need to be under observation for three days or undergo supervision until they can be released without endangering the public.

The ruling takes effect from Tuesday (Feb 9) to Aug 1.

Dr Noor Hisham also stressed on the part of the federal gazette which suggests ministers could be put under observation until they are no longer deemed a threat to public health.

"The ‘or’ part is crucial because they may be under observation for seven, 14 or even 21 days," he said.

Under the new order published in the government gazette under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342), Cabinet ministers returning from any overseas official visits are now exempted from Section 15 of the Act.

Instead, they will undergo observation for three days or surveillance until they are discharged without danger to the public.

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