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Monday, May 3, 2021

Flights from India: Minister says they carried cargo, no passengers

 


Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has clarified that the four Malaysian Airlines flights from India which landed in Malaysia after a travel ban were not carrying any passengers.

Instead, he said they were carrying cargo and the crew was not allowed to disembark.

He was responding to viral claims on social media which alleged that the flights from India had been allowed despite an enforced travel ban from the country.

The ban on flights from India was imposed on April 28 after India continuously recorded the world's highest daily Covid-19 cases at more than 300,000 a day, spurred by the more dangerous B.1.617 variant.

The MH-designated flights going viral on social media are all cargo-only flights.

"Flights on passenger aircraft are also empty of people and are used to carry freight comprising pharmaceutical goods, medical supplies, mobile phones, electrical components, and courier packages," he said on Facebook today.

The flights involved were MH191 from New Delhi, MH193 from Bengaluru, MH195 from Mumbai, and MH181 from Chennai.

Wee explained that the conversion of passenger flights into cargo flights have become a common practice during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ayer Hitam MP said he had also confirmed the matter with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), MAS Kargo and also the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

The viral message circulated amid the Health Ministry's confirmation yesterday that it had detected the first Covid-19 case involving the B.1.167 strain.

The mutated SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected in an Indian citizen who had arrived from abroad.

Wee clarified that the case was detected before the ban on flights from India was imposed.

"A check with the Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also verified that a case of an Indian foreign worker with a valid pass entering Malaysia occurred much earlier on April 10.

"Take care not to conflate these two dates which were separate events," he added.

Wee reiterated that non-Malaysians from India will not be allowed to enter Malaysia, even for transit.

He said exemptions may be made for Malaysians or their non-Malaysian spouses trying to return home from India.

However, he added that they must undergo a 14-day isolation period at a designated quarantine centre. - Mkini

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