Monitor impact of travellers from China, govt urged

JOHOR BARU: The government has been urged to have at least a three-month monitoring period to study the impact of travellers from China into the country, say travel agency companies.

Rajawali Bintang director Nur Balkish Abdul Wahab suggested that tourists from China be placed under quarantine for a week for safety purposes.

“There must be a mitigation plan set up by the government to protect the people, especially from the new variants of Covid-19 that have entered the country,” she said when contacted.

Nur Balkish, who operates a day tour trip to Singapore, said that the government should only lift the quarantine order once there is no spike in Covid-19 infection cases after the three-month monitoring period.

“The pandemic was a nightmare for all of us. Imagine if we need to go through another quarantine or another border closure when our own economy has just started to recover from the pandemic,” she added.

Asked about her views on rules in place at the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine Complex (CIQ) in Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) in Johor Baru and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (KSAB) in Gelang Patah, Nur Balkish said that the government can provide a special lane for tourists from China and bring them directly to the hotels for quarantine.

“Regardless of where they enter the country, they have to undergo quarantine first so that the safety of locals here is guaranteed,” she said.

Malaysia Tour Guides Association president Jimmy Leong said the best thing to do at the Causeway and Second Link is to ensure that all lanes and counters are operational to avoid delays and for health checks.

“The theory is simple in this instant; more lanes mean faster clearance,” he said.

Leong, who is also Johor Tourist Guides Association president, said that their arrival is good and can strengthen the needed sustainability in the tourism industry.

“The measures taken at the entry points must be reasonable and applied to all visitors irrespective of their countries of origin. Chinese tourists will know that they are not specifically being discriminated against in such a screening process but that it applies to every visitor landing on our shores.

“I think the current SOP should be sufficient because its objective is to detect any prevailing cases. There are also more important measures that we have to adapt to internally, such as the use of masks and ensuring that our frontliners are fully vaccinated,” he said.

Meanwhile, Let’s Fun Vacation director Alex Koh said that all travellers from China should at least undergo a three-day quarantine.

“The new Covid-19 variants are not easily detected by throat swabs or RTK-Antigen Covid-19 tests, and some variants do not even show any symptoms,” he said.

Koh added that the local tourism industry is not ready to face another movement control order.

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