Johor exco says first VTL Covid-positive case a 21-year-old, assures travellers route will remain open

·3-min read
Mohd Solihan Badri (left) greets travellers from Singapore at the Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Baru November 29, 2021. — Picture by Ben Tan
Mohd Solihan Badri (left) greets travellers from Singapore at the Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Baru November 29, 2021. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, Nov 29 — The Johor government gave an assurance today that the discovery of a Covid-19 positive traveller on the first day of the Malaysia-Singapore land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) will not hamper its implementation.

Johor Public Works, Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri said the traveller who tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Malaysia is a 21-year-old man.

He added that the man tested positive after taking the Covid-19 On Arrival Test (OAT) rapid detection test (RTK-Antigen) at the Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal here this morning.

“Today’s detection proves that the land VTL route is effective when those who are positive are isolated and quarantined without being allowed to leave the checkpoint facilities," he told a news conference here after checking on the land VTL operations at the bus terminal here.

The case was first announced by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin earlier today.

Mohd Solihan elaborated that the Covid-19 positive case had boarded the first bus to Johor from the Queen Street Bus Terminal in Singapore with 45 other passengers and reached the Larkin terminal at about 9.10am.

He added that the traveller was isolated immediately after his screening result returned positive and is now being quarantined by the Health Ministry to undergo Real-Time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing.

Mohd Solihan said 12 buses with a total of 350 passengers from Singapore arrived through the land VTL route this afternoon.

He said with only one positive case detected today, the Johor government hopes that the Malaysia-Singapore Land VTL continues to run smoothly.

“We do not consider a single positive case detected on the Land VTL route here to hamper its operations.

“With that, the Johor government will definitely apply for an increase in the current daily quota of 1,440 travelers,” he said.

The Tenang assemblyman also stressed that preventive and careful measures will always be prioritised with the advice of the Health Ministry.

He said this is to ensure that the risk of an outbreak can be addressed effectively.

Today marks the first time that Malaysians and authorised travellers are using the land VTL to cross the Johor Causeway in almost two years since international land borders here were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The land VTL travel only covers long-term pass holders for those working in Singapore and Johor Baru.

In addition to being fully vaccinated, the land VTL route only uses buses as transportation.

Last week, the Prime Minister's Office announced that both Malaysia and Singapore will simultaneously launch both air and land VTL between both countries on November 29.

Prior to that, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad had on November 21 announced that a total of 1,440 individuals are expected to use the land VTL route between Malaysia and Singapore which will be implemented simultaneously with the air VTL today.

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