PUTRAJAYA, March 23 (Bernama) -- Foreigners who appear for COVID-19 tests at clinics and public hospitals will not be charged, says Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the decision was in line with the circular issued by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) on Jan 29.

“If the foreigners come to the MOH clinic or hospital for non-COVID-19 diseases, they will be charged the set fee.

"(However) for COVID-19 related illnesses, as per the circular dated Jan 29, fees will not be charged, regardless of whether one is poor or rich," he said during a press conference on COVID- 19 here today.

The government had previously urged foreigners in the country to come forward and conduct COVID-19 screening tests to determine their health status following the rise in the number of positive cases reported.

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Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said all the participants of the tabligh programme which took place at the Sri Petaling Mosque recently have been urged to undergo COVID-19 tests even though they showed no symptoms.

He said this was due to the spike in the number of positive cases reported from the cluster.

"If according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), only those with symptoms should be tested, but that was in the past. We have now agreed that even those members who show no symptoms will undergo COVID-19 tests," he said.

He was commenting on allegations that there were members of the tabligh group who had been to health facilities several times but had not been tested for COVID-19.

Dr Noor Hisham said of the 6,700 participants who had undergone the test, 940 were found positive for COVID-19, which accounts for about 62 per cent of the 1,518 positive cases in the country so far.





On whether the MOH would propose to the government to extend the Movement Control Order period which is set to expire on March 31, or impose a ‘total lockdown’ following the rise in the number of deaths due to the disease, he said the ministry’s main focus currently was to enhance capacity and expertise, especially in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

He said if the death rate were to be taken as a yardstick, the current rate used worldwide was 4.5 per cent of the total number of cases, and in Malaysia, there were 1,518 cases so far.

This could mean there was a possibility of about 60 cases resulting in death, however, he said the current death toll in Malaysia stood at only 14.

The MCO was implemented by the Government from March 18 to 31 to curb the spread of COVID-19.



TAGS: Dr Noor Hisham, COVID-19, screening, foreigner, payment, tabligh