Health Ministry to consider extending quarantine period to 21 days for those returning from India

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry will study if the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for Malaysians arriving from India should be extended to 21 days, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said this after the 132 people who were brought back from India on May 12 on a special repatriation mission have had their quarantine period extended for 21 days after seven of them tested positive for Covid-19.

The seven who tested positive did not show any symptoms.

"The ministry will carry out an immediate risk evaluation to determine if the 14-day mandatory quarantine period of Malaysians arriving from India should be extended to 21 days," he said.

“Taking into account the results and risk evaluation, the Health Ministry had decided to extend the mandatory quarantine period for the passengers who arrived from India under the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission on May 12, 2021, from 14 days to 21 days,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement on Friday (May 14).

He said the repatriation mission involved 92 adults and 40 children who had tested negative for the virus after undergoing RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests before taking off from India.

He said the passengers did not show any signs of infections but were tested again using the RT-PCR test soon upon their arrival at the Air Disaster Unit in KLIA.

“They will undergo mandatory quarantine at quarantine stations designated by the government.

“They will also have to undergo RT-PRC laboratory tests to detect Covid-19 according to fixed procedures,” he added.

He said those flown back under the special mission from India comprised 64 males and 68 females with 117 of them Malaysians, eight from Brunei, four Danish, two Indian nationals and an Indonesian.

He noted that 20 people accompanied the repatriated passengers in the flight, comprising 14 crew members, four Health Ministry personnel and one each from the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and Foreign Ministry.

He said all 20 had worn full personal protection equipment (PPE) throughout the mission.

The special humanitarian mission to India took off from Malaysia on May 11 and arrived back in the country on May 13.

On Thursday (May 13), Dr Noor Hisham said that an individual who was detected with the Indian Covid-19 variant (B.1.617) in the country only tested positive for the virus two weeks after arriving here from overseas.

The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India last December, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently classifying it as a "variant of global concern".

It has said preliminary studies show the B.1.617 mutation spreads more easily than other variants, with the variant detected in more than 30 countries.

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