Even though the Movement Control Order in Malaysia had been going on for two weeks, there are still 15 per cent of Malaysians who have not complied with the Order by staying at home. These were the people who returned home from their vacation and they were supposed to be quarantined at home. However, the Malaysian Ministry of Health has found positive COVID-19 cases being spread locally by people who came back from overseas.
Therefore, to prevent even more cases of locally-spread COVID-19, the Malaysian government has instructed all Malaysians who are returning to the country on 3 April to be taken away to quarantine centres immediately upon their arrival at airports.
Malaysia’s Director-General of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, stated that the government has set up a total of 364 quarantine centres to cater to these returning Malaysians. This is due to the non-compliance with the government’s order to quarantine themselves at home upon arrival, as reported by The Star.
Dr Noor Hisham mentioned that these people will be placed at a “special place” for 14 days.
“We have identified 364 quarantine centres to put up these returning Malaysians. We find that when we ask people to do home quarantine, the compliance rate is about 75% to 80% because there are people who are supposed to stay at home but still go out. So now, we will put them at a special place for 14 days,” announced Dr Noor Hisham.
This particular new enforcement was announced by the Malaysian Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. The decision to quarantine returning Malaysians at designated places is regardless of which country they have arrived from or whether they were on a commercial or specially chartered flight.
As of yesterday (31 March), the Ministry of Health is still in the process of tracing Malaysians who had attended the tabligh gatherings in India as well as Sulawesi in Indonesia.
In India, a religious congregation that was held from 13 to 15 March became a new COVID-19 cluster in the country. Malaysians were reported to be among the 2,000 delegates who attended that event.
Dr Noor Hisham explained that the Malaysian government is trying to gather information on those who participated in the gathering in Sulawesi. He said that those who attended are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
“Not just in India, we are also looking at a Sulawesi gathering and we are trying to get more information. Those who attended are at a high risk. We have identified 87 names of those who attended and we are tracing them with help from the police,” said Dr Noor Hisham.