Monday, January 24, 2022

Malaysia-Singapore travel lanes to continue despite detection of first Omicron case

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says there is no need to panic as the current preventive measures have been effective in terms of curbing the spread of infection.

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The air and land Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) between Singapore and Malaysia will continue despite the country recording its first case of the Omicron variant of concern (VOC), Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

He said all travellers who arrive in Malaysia via the air and land VTLs are required to conduct Covid-19 self-tests on the third and seventh day after arrival.

He said he had contacted his Singaporean counterpart, Ong Ye Kung, following the detection of the Omicron variant case.

“We reaffirm that the VTLs will continue and we will continue to update each other on a daily basis and coordinate our responses accordingly,” he told a media conference on the development of Covid-19.

Malaysia and Singapore launched the air and land VTLs on Monday to allow travellers who have completed their vaccinations to enter the country without having to undergo quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia and Singapore.

Malaysia recorded its first Omicron variant case involving a student from South Africa studying at a private university in Ipoh who was confirmed positive for the VOC on Dec 2.

Khairy said the temporary ban on travellers from eight countries – South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Malawi – would continue.

For international tourists participating in the Langkawi tourism bubble, travellers arriving from all countries must undergo additional Covid-19 detection tests on the third and fifth day from the date of arrival, with professional RTK-Ag testing.

As an additional preventive measure, Khairy said travellers arriving from high-risk countries at the international checkpoint at KLIA would be required to wear a digital tracking device during the order For supervision and observation or quarantine period.

He said a list of high-risk countries would be provided by the health ministry through risk evaluations.

Khairy said the people need not panic at the emergence of the Omicron variant in the country as current Covid-19 preventive measures have been seen as effective in curbing the spread of the pandemic.

“The existing preventive measures, SOPs and guidelines provided are very, very stringent.

“If we notice, other countries which are starting to tighten their measures due to Omicron are actually implementing what Malaysia has implemented.

“I feel we are among the most careful countries in terms of prevention. We still have quarantine, wearing of face masks, and a contact tracing system which I feel is quite thorough,” he said, adding that the people are encouraged to continue practising TRIIS (test, report, isolate, inform and seek), and to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

In the meantime, Khairy said the campaign on giving booster doses would be intensified, with the health ministry targeting booster jabs for at least 75% of the vaccinated population.

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