GEORGE TOWN, Aug 19 ― The three medical tourists and their two companions who arrived in Penang last week were sequestered at a ward separate from other facilities, a private hospital that brought them in said today.
Island Hospital, in a statement, stressed that the patients and their companions also fulfilled all strict entry requirements including obtaining negative results in Covid-19 RT-PCR tests three days before arriving here.
“Approvals were obtained as early as August 5 from the Ministry of Health, Immigration Department coordinated by Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC),” the hospital said.
The hospital said the international medical chartered flight that carried the patients was stringently managed upon landing, through the coordinated efforts of Malaysia Airports Berhad, Civil Defence Force, Immigration Department and the MHTC.
They said the patients and their companions were subjected to strict safety protocols upon arrival at the Penang International Airport and they adhered to the standard operating procedures when travelling from the airport to the hospital.
“Patients and their companions were screened with three types of Covid-19 tests (RT-PCR, Antigen and Antibody) upon arrival at Island Hospital,” they said.
They said the patients and their companions were then admitted to an isolated ward through a dedicated entry route with 24-hour security and will remain isolated for 14 days with no visitors allowed.
The stressed that all attending doctors and staff wore full personal protective equipment upon first contact with the patients and will continue to do so for any subsequent treatment during the course of the patients’ admission.
“On day 13, another Covid-19 test will be conducted on the patients and companions,” they said.
They said the patients and companions will remain isolated in their respective rooms in a separate designated ward until they have even cleared to fly back to their home country.
The hospital claimed that Penang is the fourth state after Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Melaka to receive international patients.
“Out of the 22 requests that were received from our existing patients who had their treatments postponed due to travel restrictions, only five patients were approved by the hospital medical committee and subsequently MHTC,” they said.
They said only patients who are in critical need of medical attention are considered.
“Unfortunately, one patient succumbed to illness during travel plan arrangements while another patient was deemed unfit to travel, as such, only three patients successfully flew in,” they said.
The hospital said all patients seeking outpatient treatment at the hospital follow strict SOPs such as temperature screening upon entry, compulsory mask usage and registration on the MySejahtera application.
“For all admissions, a Covid-19 test is compulsory and provided complimentary to MyKad holders. Patients will only be allowed admission following a negative test result,” they said.
There was a public uproar when news of the arrival of the medical tourists on August 14 was published last week.
This Penang state government has claimed that it was not informed of the chartered flight bringing the patients in until the news was published.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has since said the state will not allow any medical tourists into the state due to the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the state.
Yesterday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said individual states may not impose restrictions that were contrary to the federal government’s authority.