KUALA LUMPUR: Travellers entering Malaysia from Singapore under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme must undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine with effect from Thursday (May 13).
The tightened restrictions come as Malaysian authorities have listed Singapore as one of several countries that have reported the spread of coronavirus variants in the community, health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Monday.
The quarantine must be served at government-approved facilities, he added.
Dr Noor Hisham said the decision was made by the Malaysia National Security Council based on reports by Singapore’s Ministry of Health. The reports indicate the presence of coronavirus variants from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil and India.
Previously, PCA travellers entering Malaysia were required to serve a seven-day Home Surveillance Order and undergo a COVID-19 test. Those with Johor residential addresses on their identification cards were permitted to self-isolate at home until they received a negative COVID-19 test result.
Last week, Singapore announced that those with recent travel history to higher risk countries and regions will have to serve a 21-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities with effect from May 8.
Higher risk countries and regions refer to all places except Australia, Brunei, Mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
According to the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), all PCA-approved travellers will be required to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore.
Thereafter, they will take two additional PCR tests - one on the 14th and 21st day of their stay-home notice.
Malaysia has previously stated that those serving quarantine at dedicated hotels would be charged a maximum of RM150 per day. This excluded any additional cost for COVID-19 testing.
For those serving their 21-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities in Singapore, the ICA website shows a cost of S$3,000 for accommodation and food for a single adult. This excludes the costs of PCR tests and laundry.
RECIPROCAL GREEN LANE TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED
Dr Noor Hisham added that the council also agreed to temporarily suspend the Malaysia-Singapore Reciprocal Green Lane from May 13
Travellers from Singapore who intend to enter Malaysia for commercial purposes should use the One Stop Centre made available by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday announced a nationwide movement control order from May 12 to Jun 7. Under these restrictions, all social gatherings including Hari Raya visits are banned and schools have been ordered to close.
Aidilfitri prayers at mosques are still permitted, subject to a cap of 20 to 50 people, depending on the maximum capacity of the facility.
Malaysia reported 3,807 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking the national total to 444,484. There were also 17 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 1,700. The authorities also identified 19 new clusters, bringing the number of active clusters to 448.
The country currently has a total of 37,396 active cases. Of these, 434 are in the intensive care unit with 224 requiring respiratory support.