PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry does not intend to relax its rules on quarantine for travellers arriving in the country for the time being.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this was because the transmission of Covid-19 cases containing highly infectious variants remained high.
This means that travellers from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal will continue to be subjected to a mandatory 21-day quarantine at centres determined by the government.
Travellers from other countries will have to undergo 14 days’ quarantine, which may be extended to 21 days based on risk assessment conducted on the 14th day.
“Be reminded that the length of quarantine is very important to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 from other countries into Malaysia, especially those that are variants of concern (VOC) or variants of interest (VOI).
“These variants are found to be more infectious and have a higher risk of causing deaths. This practice of extended quarantine stay is practised by many other countries,” said Dr Noor Hisham in his daily Covid-19 statement.
He said the ministry had received numerous appeals from people asking to shorten their quarantine period.
“While the ministry understands the personal situations faced by these people, it must remain serious in the implementation of this quarantine policy,” he added.
Besides undergoing quarantine, travellers must also take a Covid-19 test three days before departure as well as upon arrival.
For those under the 14-day quarantine, they will be tested on the 10th day.
Those on 21 days of quarantine are to be tested on the 18th day.
Dr Noor Hisham also announced that six VOC cases had been detected in the country between June 20 and 22.
Of the six new cases, five are linked to the B.1.351 Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa.
Two of the cases were in Penang while three others were in Sabah, Kedah and Perlis.
One case, which was detected in Negri Sembilan, contained the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, first detected in India.
So far, the ministry has confirmed 173 VOC and 16 VOI cases in the country.
Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 5,841 new Covid-19 cases – up from 5,244 the previous day.
Selangor remained the state with the most number of cases, with 2,072 infections recorded.
Another 84 people died from Covid-19, taking the national death toll to 4,721.
Currently, 869 patients are treated in the intensive care unit with 438 on ventilators.
There were 5,411 people discharged, bringing the total of recoveries to 650,954.
Active cases went up to 61,162 from 60,816 the previous day.