Compulsory quarantine, tests for all arrivals, only Sarawakians don’t have to pay

Uggah addressing a press conference on Covid-19 update.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Aug 18: The state government will continue to bear the costs of quarantine accommodation and Covid-19 tests for Sarawakians returning from overseas.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah emphasised that it is compulsory for all Sarawakians returning from overseas to complete the 14-day quarantine at designated facilities or hotels upon arrival in Sarawak.

“During the quarantine period, they will undergo two Covid-19 tests which are on the second and 10th day.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused but it has to be observed as there were cases in which it appeared (on their results) on the 10th or 11th day of quarantine,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 update here today.

As for non-Sarawakians (Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah, Labuan and foreigners) returning from overseas and entering Sarawak, he added that they will have to pay the costs of their own quarantine and tests.

“This instruction is effective until Aug 31,” he said.

On a question, the deputy chief minister clarified that anyone, including tourists and visitors, entering Sarawak for more than two days will need to undergo quarantine either at home or designated facilities while pending swab test results and will only be released if the result returned negative.

“We do encourage them to come but it seems that tourists are not keen on travelling around yet.

“In Sarawak, we have the Sia Sitok Sarawak campaign (to encourage local tourism) as movement restrictions have been lifted. So please visit Mulu (Caves) as you don’t have to apply for a police permit,” he added.

This instruction, he reiterated, will be effective until Aug 31 as well.

On state government not allowed to impose their own regulations on social and business activities as these would be superseding the federal government, Uggah however observed that it will not affect Sarawak as the federal government recognised that the state has its own ordinance and laws.

“He (Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob) announced similar condition in the past but he is also informed that Sarawak is being given exception as we have law and regulations which can be used, in which the federal government also agreed, allowing us to adjust the standard operating procedure (SOP) to suit our needs,” he explained.

“He recognised that we have that ordinance and that’s why from time to time, even though our SOP and guidelines are based on that issued by Putrajaya, we will adjust so that it is applicable to Sarawak,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri highlighted this early today following Penang state government’s decision to bar entry to medical tourists due to the re-emergence of Covid-19 infections in the state.

He emphasised that such regulations may only be enforced at the respective states if gazetted and approved by the National Security Council and Health Ministry or else the said law cannot be enforced.

Ismail Sabri thus urged state governments to refer to the Special Meeting of Ministers on the Movement Control Order (MCO) before making any decisions on related SOP.—DayakDaily