KUALA LUMPUR: Individuals returning from overseas are expected to be able to spark a sharp rise in COVID-19 positive cases by mid-month if not addressed.
Recognizing the possibility of the third wave, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah advised the government to place all individuals returning from overseas via land, sea or water, at the quarantine center.
He said the ministry also expects more Malaysians from abroad, especially among higher education institutions (HEIs) to return home, thus risking the COVID-19 import case.
“The first wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia is through Chinese tourists, while the second wave is an imported case, so now we are taking a stand to filter out anyone who enters.
“If the information is up to date, including through the Malaysian Association of Travel and Travel Agents (MATTA Fair), the total attendance may be around 8,000.
“However, we expect the actual figures to be more than that as it is now involving IPT students from all over the world looking to return to Malaysia.
“So, we have to control the risk of this import case to avoid predicting the increase in cases by the middle of this month does not come true,” he told a COVID-19 daily media conference in Putrajaya today.
Addressing the quarantine mechanism, Dr Noor Hisham said isolation at each unit, near the center of the related facility, would be made on a cohort or small group.
He said the approach was implemented because each small group had the same risk exposure pattern of the COVID-19 infection.
“For example, we would not separate a family of three people, instead they would be housed in one room because each had the same risk exposure pattern.
“It is important to emphasize that they cannot be free even if they are housed in the same quarantine center as we want to reduce the risk of infection by maintaining social incarceration.
“Therefore, all must remain in their respective rooms when placed in the quarantine center for a 14-day incubation period, while all meals will be provided.
“We take an average of 14 days for the incubation period, although there are one or two cases where it is more than that, which means that COVID-19 symptoms appear on the 15th day onwards,” he said.
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