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Saturday, December 31, 2022

Visitors from China must test negative before entering Sabah from Jan 1


Sabah is highly dependent on Chinese tourists, who made up almost half the visitor arrivals between 2017 and 2019. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Travellers from China will need to show that they tested negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours before entering Sabah from next year.

Sabah’s spokesman for Covid-19 Masidi Manjun said the new rule would be enforced starting Jan 1.

In a statement, Masidi said this was due to the anticipated influx of tourists from China after it lifted travel restrictions for its citizens recently. So far, there are no reports of any resumption of direct flights between Kota Kinabalu and destinations in China post-Covid-19.

Sabah is highly dependent on Chinese tourists, who made up almost half the visitor arrivals between 2017 and 2019.

According to the Sabah Tourism Board, 43.4% – or nearly 600,000 arrivals – were from China during the period, but as of June this year, this had plunged to only 6.3%.

Earlier, FMT reported that all travellers arriving in Malaysia will have to undergo temperature checks for fever amid concerns over a surge of Covid-19 cases in China.

Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said those who were found to be feverish, symptomatic or had self-declared (Covid-19 symptoms) would be referred to a quarantine centre, or to the health authorities for further checks.

At the same time, all those with a history of travelling to China within 14 days of their arrival will be required to undergo an RTK-Antigen test, and samples will be sent for genome testing if they are positive for Covid-19.

This also applies to those who have close contact with individuals who have travelled to China within 14 days, or exhibit influenza-like illnesses or severe acute respiratory infection.

The ministry will also run PCR tests on sewage samples from aircraft coming from China. If found positive for Covid-19, it will be sent for genome sequencing.

Covid-19 infections started to sweep across China in November, and increased this month after Beijing dismantled its zero-Covid policy, including regular PCR testing on its population. - FMT

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