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Malaysia’s Immigration Department to operate special lanes for travellers from China amid COVID-19 concerns

Malaysia’s Immigration Department to operate special lanes for travellers from China amid COVID-19 concerns

Passengers are seen disembarking from an aircraft after it landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. (Photo: AFP)

KUALA LUMPUR: Amid concerns over the COVID-19 situation in China, Malaysia’s Immigration Department will operate special lanes for travellers from the country at its international entry points.

This, the health ministry said, is part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus in Malaysia.

Its deputy director-general of public health Dr Norhayati Rusli was quoted as saying by The Star on Tuesday (Jan 10) that travellers who are suspected to be COVID-19 positive will then be referred to health ministry officials who are stationed onsite.

Dr Norhayati said: "Thermal scanners will also be set up at our international entry points, with symptomatic travellers being referred to our officials for further checks.”

These travellers will then undergo throat swabs as well as the rapid antigen test.

CNA has reached out to the Malaysian health ministry for comments on when the special lanes will be rolled out, as well as whether these special lanes will be introduced at the land checkpoints.

It was previously reported that all travellers entering Malaysia will need to undergo temperature screening checks. Those who are found to have fever, are symptomatic or have self-declared their symptoms will be sent to a quarantine centre or to the health authorities for further checks.

At the health ministry briefing on Tuesday, Dr Norhayati further said that travellers who have tested positive may either isolate themselves at home or at their lodging residences, or referred to the hospital depending on the severity of their disease.

On Sunday, Malaysia’s tourism, arts and culture minister Tiong King Sing said that his ministry will station officers who are fluent in Mandarin at all international airports in the country to help Chinese tourists who are not able to speak in English.

According to Free Malaysia Today, Mr Tiong had proposed that special lanes be set up at these international airports to help speed up the arrival process for Chinese travellers.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that the government’s decision to tighten border controls amid concerns over a spike in COVID-19 cases is not meant to discriminate against any one country.

He added then that the health of Malaysians is the government’s main concern and will not be superseded by tourism or economic growth.

In December, Malaysia’s health minister Zaliha Mustafa said travellers who had been to China within the last 14 days of their arrival into the country will need to undergo the rapid antigen test.

Those who have been in close contact with people who have travelled to China in the last 14 days, or exhibit influenza-like illnesses or severe acute respiratory infection will also need to be tested for COVID-19.

The authorities would also run polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on sewage samples from aircrafts coming from China.

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Source: Agencies/as(aw)


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