Employers who do not allow employees to self-quarantine while waiting for Covid-19 screening test results will have their premises shut down immediately, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba says.
He said the action comes under the conditions of the General Standard Operation Procedures and the General Guidelines on the Approval of Operations Movement of Company Employees during the Movement Control Order issued by the international trade and industry ministry.
He said the condition also applies to employees who voluntarily quarantine themselves after receiving negative Covid-19 results.
“If employers do not allow quarantines, the condition states that the police and the health ministry, based on the authority given, can order the immediate closure of their premises.
“Non-compliance by employers must be reported to the police,” he said at a media conference together with National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on the development of the vaccination programme yesterday.
Article 34 of the condition states that any employee under the health ministry’s observation or placed under home observation is not allowed to come to work and is required to undergo a quarantine period set by the ministry.
The condition also states that the company must help and cooperate fully with the ministry in implementing contact tracing of employees infected with Covid-19 and contact management, while the employee under observation by the ministry or under home observation is not allowed to work and is required to be quarantined.
Adham said the reminder was timely following the recent rise in workplace-linked Covid-19 clusters, with 44 clusters recorded between May 2 and May 8, compared to 24 clusters for the period of April 25 to May 1.
According to him, the situation is worrying as it represents an 83.3% increase during that period.
He said there also was a rise in Covid-19 deaths recorded in six weeks, with 22 fatalities recorded from March 21 to 27; 35 cases each from March 28 to April 3 and April 4 to 10; 49 cases from April 11 to 17; 56 cases from April 18 to 24 and 95 cases from April 25 to May 1.
Adham said 9.98 million individuals had undergone Covid-19 RT-PCR tests as of May 8.
He added that 498,193 tests were done from May 2 to 8 compared to 480,688 tests from April 25 to May 1, with the rate of individuals testing positive from May 2 to 8 at 5.1%.