PUTRAJAYA: Cabinet Ministers going on official visits overseas must comply with strict conditions in order to obtain an exemption to reduce their quarantine period to three days, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said that if they failed to comply with the conditions set under Section 29 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) and Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Exemption) Order 2021, they would be required to undergo the 10-day quarantine period.
He said that among the conditions included having to submit an application to the Cabinet prior to their trip.
“Once the Cabinet approves, we will look at the official business listed in their schedule and the standard operating procedures submitted by both parties (from Malaysia and the country they are visiting).
“We will also look at their activities so that they are brief, compact and do not involve many people such as in public places,” he said at the press conference on Covid-19 development here, today.
Dr Noor Hisham said the applicants would also have to undergo Covid-19 screening before and after their trips as well as travel on private jets because travelling on commercial flights would not be considered.
“They (Cabinet ministers) will undergo observation for at least three days or surveillance until they are discharged without danger to the public. This could mean seven days, 14 days or can be extended up to 21 days,” he said.
On Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent trip to Jakarta, Dr Noor Hisham said the Prime Minister had undergone Covid-19 screening test on Feb 3 as well as upon arrival in Jakarta on Feb 4 and on his return home.
According to Dr Noor Hisham, he had also issued a home surveillance order (HSO) on the Prime Minister.
“A swab test was done today, which is the fifth day, and he will complete his quarantine schedule for a period of seven days, so three plus seven means 10 days,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said that even if there was an agreement on the reciprocal green lane (RGL), screening tests would still be conducted.
“For example, with neighbouring countries, swab tests will still be carried out, but there will be no need to undergo quarantine. But now, the Cabinet ministers must be quarantined for a minimum of three days or be placed under surveillance until they are discharged without danger to the public,” he said.
Asked if Section 29 of Act 342 could be applied to members of the public, Dr Noor Hisham said it could be considered under strict conditions.
“The quarantine period will be extended from 10 to 14 days if it is a high-risk country, like South Africa,” he said.
On Monday, a federal government gazette signed by Health Minister Datuk Seri Adham Baba was published on the Attorney-General’s Chambers website giving exemption to Cabinet Ministers from having to undergo the 10-day compulsory quarantine with effect from today (Feb 9) until Aug 1. -Bernama