MALAYSIA has joined many countries around the world and announced quarantine exemptions for some travellers.
On Thursday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said fully vaccinated travellers who contracted Covid-19 within 11 to 60 days prior to their arrival in Malaysia will not have to isolate themselves.
While the number of such travellers will obviously be small, it is still good news for the decimated tourism sector as well as the economy in general (not to mention people with itchy feet who haven’t been able to travel in more then two years).
Here’s an important takeaway from that announcement: Such travellers must have printed or digital laboratory reports about their infection during that period.
Obviously, these reports have to be genuine. The authorities must have a way to check authenticity or risk allowing the highly transmissible Omicron variant to run rampant in the country.
We join many Malaysians, we’re sure, in worrying about recent cases of people selling fake vaccination certificates.
Then there is the case of a group of travellers who returned to the country carrying the Omicron variant who had no record of vaccination.
Home quarantine rules were also broken and family members were infected: of the 122 Omicron variant cases in Malaysia as at Jan 4, only four were locally transmitted and all four were close contacts of positive cases who returned from abroad on Dec 12, and who were confirmed positive for the Omicron variant on Dec 24, Khairy said.
(The cumulative number of Omicron cases in the country is 245 as at Jan 7.)
We can demand better enforcement of the SOP, we can complain about MySejahtera all we want but nothing will stop Covid-19 from peaking again if we ourselves lie, buy fake certs and break quarantine.
There is simply no excuse for people who selfishly do not adhere to prevention protocols or for civil servants who help them evade the rules.
The authorities must enforce the SOP strictly, without fear or favour. And we, the rakyat, must do our part and not try to evade the SOP and regulations.
If you’re tempted to do so, just remember what the full lockdown was like last year and how we still haven’t recovered, economically or socially, from it.