By Karen Bong
KUCHING, June 18: Overseas returnees and those arriving in Sarawak who have completed the mandatory quarantine and obtained negative swab tests on day 10 or 18 at the first point of entry, after entering the State within 24 hours will be quarantined at their destination and released upon the first negative swab test.
The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), in its daily update on the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak, has announced this latest directive today following the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s changes on travel restriction guidelines into the country through international gateways, which requires travellers and airline cabin crews to be quarantined for 14 or 21 days at the first point of entry before they are allowed to proceed to their final destinations.
SDMC took note of the amendment and is reviewing the entry procedure into Sarawak with the Sarawak State Health Department as well as monitoring the current development of Covid-19 situation so as to coordinate the procedure for those wishing to return to Sarawak from abroad by transiting through Peninsula Malaysia.
Until further decision has been made, SDMC advised all travellers from overseas to comply with the current restrictions and guidelines which have been issued by the MOH.
In the latest changes to the travel restriction guideline, it is compulsory for all overseas travellers entering Malaysia to undergo rT-PCR Covid-19 swab tests and quarantine for 14 days or 21 days for those from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at the point of entry, which is the first destination, before they are allowed to continue with their journey to other states.
The changes were made to prevent the spread of SARS-COV-2 virus categorised as variant-of-concern (VOC) into the country as authorities have identified as many as 138 VOCs and variant of interest (VOIs) in Malaysia as of June 4.
In Sarawak, about 20 cases linked to VOC and VOI have been reported.
Travellers or returnees are also required to comply with the entry procedures that have been set by the respective State governments.
Meanwhile, DayakDaily has today gathered that some 13 people who had been given approval to enter Sarawak were turned away and stopped from leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) this morning and were made to undergo quarantine in KL instead.
Salina Pit, who was affected by this latest policy, also shared that she learnt that some 30 people were stopped from leaving for Sarawak yesterday (June 18).
Most if not all of them are particularly worried they will have to undergo another two-weeks of quarantine upon entering Sarawak which will not only disrupt their plans but also result in a waste of time.
Salina, who is residing in Doha, had rushed to book flight tickets to return home to see her ailing mother.
She also has booked return tickets to Doha on Aug 13 but if she would have to go through two rounds of quarantine, she would not make it to see her mother as she would be due to make her journey back to Doha.
Salina and others are hoping the State and Federal governments can coordinate things better, including giving advance notice so as to relieve them from any issues that could arise. — DayakDaily