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Singapore, Malaysia agree to align COVID-19 screening protocols at land borders

Singapore, Malaysia agree to align COVID-19 screening protocols at land borders

An ICA officer watching the display on a monitor at a temperature screening station set up at Tuas Checkpoint for passengers arriving by bus. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to align health screening protocols at their land borders amid the novel coronavirus situation, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a media release on Wednesday (Feb 26). 

In a first meeting on Tuesday in Johor Bahru, a joint working group made up of officials from Singapore and Malaysia updated each other on the COVID-19 situation in their respective countries.

READ: Wuhan virus outbreak: Temperature screening at Tuas Checkpoint a breeze so far, say travellers

READ: Coronavirus cases in Singapore - Trends, clusters and key numbers to watch

The senior government officials "agreed to continue entry screening at both countries and align health screening protocols at the land borders", said MOH. 

The group also agreed to exchange information on clinical management of patients between technical experts, as well as share surveillance data by activating a bilateral field epidemiology training network. 

Lastly, they agreed to exchange information such as national advisories and public messaging on COVID-19. 

In the release, MOH said that both countries have agreed on the terms of reference for the working group "to further enhance cooperation to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19". The group will be co-led by the deputy health ministers of both countries, it added. 

READ: Wuhan virus: Temperature screening begins at Woodlands, Tuas and sea checkpoints

During the meeting, both countries also "shared existing screening protocols at the two land borders, and began discussion on joint-border cooperation", said MOH. 

"Both countries reaffirmed the importance of working closely together against the ongoing outbreak under the newly formed joint working group," MOH said. 

The meeting was attended by Singapore's Ministry of Health deputy secretary of development Dr Benjamin Koh, and Malaysia's Ministry of Health deputy director-general Dr Chong Chee Kheong, who led their respective delegations. 

They visited the health screening facilities at Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex in Johor Bahru. 

The joint working group was formed earlier this month to manage the outbreak of COVID-19 in both countries. The next meeting is scheduled in March. 

Malaysia currently has 22 cases of COVID-19 while Singapore has 91

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Source: CNA/ad(hm)


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