Wastewater samples of aircraft from China to be tested for Covid-19, arrivals to undergo fever screening

  • Nation
  • Friday, 30 Dec 2022

PETALING JAYA: Wastewater from planes arriving from China will undergo RT-PCR testing to detect Covid-19 while all arrivals from abroad including China will be screened for fever at the international port of entry.

These are among the measures being taken by the Health Ministry in anticipation of Chinese tourists, as China prepares to lift travel restrictions for its citizens.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said international arrivals who were detected to have fever or symptoms through the screening or self-declaration will be referred to the quarantine centre or the health department.

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Should Covid-19 be suspected, a test will be conducted, she said in a statement on Friday (Dec 30).

Meanwhile, wastewater samples from the aircraft will be sent to the National Public Health Laboratory for PCR tests and then sent for genome sequencing if detected positive for Covid-19.

"In strengthening Covid-19 surveillance in the community, environment and laboratory, further tests on positive samples of Covid-19 using the Whole Genomic Sequencing (WGS) technique were implemented to detect the early entry of new variants in the country.

"Surveillance on samples for cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) in 59 clinics and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in 18 hospitals throughout the country are still continuing, with samples sent to national health laboratories and the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) for genome sequencing if found positive for Covif-19.

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To further improve the detection of any new variants, Dr Zaliha said ILI and SARI cases that seek services at health facilities and have a travel history to China within the last 14 days, or have a history of contact with individuals who have a history of travel to China within the last fortnight, will undergo an RTK-Ag Covid-19 test and the sample will then be sent for genome sequencing if positive.

She also referred to the World Health Organization's (WHO) weekly Covid-19 report in China, which recorded a total of 148,659 cases with 442 deaths between Dec 11 to Dec 17, 2022.

"Overall, the trend of Covid-19 cases is under controlled conditions in most countries around the world including Malaysia," she said.

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