Ministers must use private planes for 3-day quarantine but Sarawak still requires 14 days

Dr Sim Kui Hian. – Code Blue photo.

By Emma Victoria

MINISTERS, elected representatives and VIPs entering Sarawak will still need to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a designated hotel or centre.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said Sarawak will not follow the health ministry’s decision to allow ministers who return from any official visit abroad to undergo observation for only three days.

“The policy is still the same: those who return from abroad need to be quarantined for 14 days and a swab test will be taken on the 10th day, regardless of whether they are ministers, YBs or VIPs” he told FMT.

He said the Sarawak disaster management committee would seek advice from medical experts before deciding to make any changes to the quarantine policy.

He was responding to an order signed by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba that says ministers who return from any official visit abroad are now required to undergo observation for only three days or undergo surveillance until they can be discharged without danger to the public.

The new rule is contained in a ministerial order in force from today until Aug 1. It was published in the Government Gazette yesterday under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.

The ruling attracted public backlash over the double standards.

Health director general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday clarified that the exemption only applies if travels are for official business and schedules must be short, with only a small delegation.

He said that only ministers who take private flights and not make any public appearances will be allowed to undergo observation for three days.

Those using regular commercial flights will have to undergo quarantine like everyone else.

“They will have to adhere to these conditions before approval is given for three days.”