Dr Noor Hisham: Immigration staff at Padang Besar ICQs will be screened and quarantined

Soo Wern Jun
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Thai government had informed the Malaysian government once the students were discovered to be Covid-19 positive. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed that staff at the Padang Besar Immigration, Customs, Quarantine, Security Complex (ICQs), who came into contact with six Thai students, have been screened and asked to undergo quarantine for a period of 14 days.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Thai government had informed the Malaysian government once the students were discovered to be Covid-19 positive.

“This is the cooperation between our government and Thailand government.

“They applied to use KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and KLIA2 as transit for their students to return to Thailand,” said Dr Noor Hisham during MOH’s daily briefing on Covid-19 today.

He was referring to questions asked by reporters on the temporary shutdown of the Padang Besar ICQs, after six Thai students who passed through the checkpoint were confirmed as Covid-19 positive yesterday.

He also pointed out that prior to this, there was a case where Thai students were returning from Singapore but went through Malaysia to reach Thailand.

“But they did not layover anywhere. However, upon arrival at the border in Perlis, they had to get their passport stamped and while doing that, our immigration officers were exposed to those students.

“For now, there are no positive cases recorded,” he said.

Bernama had yesterday reported that six Thai students, aged between 23 and 33, who had just returned from Saudi Arabia, entered Thailand through the Padang Besar checkpoint and were confirmed positive for Covid-19 today.

Meanwhile, commenting on a separate matter, Dr Noor Hisham said no deaths were recorded at the three immigration detention depots in Bukit Jalil, Sepang and Semenyih, all of which recently recorded high numbers of Covid-19 positive cases.

“Most cases were admitted to our temporary hospital in MAEPS and were given the best treatment for two weeks before they were sent back.

“Those who tested negative, we are in the process of sending them back to their respective countries. Earlier today, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia agreed to accept them,” he said, using the acronym for the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang that is currently being used as a Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centre.

On the sanitisation of detention depots, Dr Noor Hisham said Bukit Jalil, Sepang and Semenyih are treated as locations under lockdown where everyone at the respective locations are screened and tested.

“Now we are discussing the other detention depots (14 in peninsula Malaysia and four in Sabah).

“The important thing is, today, no new cases were reported elsewhere. But we will look at the procedures again.

“Those in the other detention depots, whether they need to be screened,” he said.

He added that the government is also formalising a protocol to screen and test all immigrants before they are admitted to respective detention depots so that there will not be any outbreak.

“(So that) we don’t have such an outbreak there (at detention depots).

“Not just detention depots, but also prisons and other detention centres,” he said.

Earlier this week, Malaysia recorded a surge in new Covid-19 positive cases where the majority of cases came from three detention depots in Bukit Jalil, Sepang and Semenyih.

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