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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Up to NSC to decide action on undocumented migrants - MOH

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | The Health Ministry will leave it to the National Security Council (NSC) to decide whether action should be taken against those found to be undocumented migrants during Covid-19 screening operations.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a press conference today that the ministry's actions are focused on detecting positive cases and treating patients.
"What is important for us is to conduct the detection tests. For those who come forward, especially foreigners who attended the Sri Petaling gathering, we will test them.
"The most important (issue) for us is to ensure that they do not have Covid-19.
"Whether there are any (legal) actions taken against them (over their status in the country), that we leave to the NSC," he said.
Noor Hisham was responding to a request for his comment over the government's announcement yesterday, where senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that all undocumented migrants found in enhanced movement control order (MCO) areas would be handed over to the Immigration Department.
This was in contrast to an earlier announcement by Ismail last month, where he called for foreigners who had attended the Sri Petaling tabligh gathering, including those who do not have valid travel documents, to come forward and assured them that no action would be taken.
"I have discussed (this) with the inspector-general of police earlier, even if there are migrants who do not have valid travel documents, what is important now is for them to come forward without any fear.
"We won't focus on their documents but rather on whether they are positive with Covid-19.
"The most extreme case that could happen is only a 14-day quarantine (for Covid-19). That is all (that can happen)," Ismail told a press conference on March 22.
At the time that Ismail said this, authorities were still scrambling to identify all participants of the tabligh gathering, which they estimated to be around 16,000 including 1,500 foreigners.
The Sri Petaling gathering cluster is the largest infection cluster detected in Malaysia so far.
As of today, 2,175 cases or 36.2 percent from the total 6,002 positive cases in the country came from the cluster.
According to Noor Hisham, so far MOH has screened a total of 21,271 foreign nationals in its efforts to detect positive cases.
Of the figure, 811 were found to be positive with Covid-19 including 431 which had since been discharged, while 376 are still receiving treatment in hospitals while four had died of the virus.
When asked about the cost that Malaysia had spent to test foreigners for Covid-19, Noor Hisham did not give an exact figure.
However, he said each Covid-19 test costs between RM200 and RM300. - Mkini

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