Yesterday (1 December), the Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has in a statement addressed Malaysian’s concern on the new and deadly Covid-19 Omicron variant, as well as the nation’s next course of action in curbing its spread.
In the statement, Khairy gave a full list of countries that have reported cases of Omicron as at 30 November and based on the current findings, Omicron may have mutated from an immunocompromised Covid-19 positive individual.
He also said that Omicron has been found to spread even more rapidly than the other variants and the early findings suggests that this variant may increase the risk of re-infection compared to other variants.
However, it is still too early to conclude whether existing vaccines will work against Omicron or vice versa.
As a measure to curb the spread of the virus, the Ministry has imposed 4 new actions and they are:
Temporary Travel Restriction
- The ministry has imposed restrictions on direct and transit flight of Non-Malaysians travelling from high-risk countries that have Omicron reported cases.
- List of banned countries under the travel restriction includes South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Malawi
- Travel restriction will also be imposed on Non-Malaysians whose traveling history includes any of the aforementioned countries within 14 days before arrival.
- No travel restriction imposed on Malaysians and long-term visit pass holders. However, they are required to undergo 14-day quarantine regardless of vaccination status.
- They are also required to take RT-PCR Test 72 hours before departure, then at the international entrance at the airport, and on their 10th day of quarantine.
- Malaysians travelers planning to travel to Omicron variant detected countries will be asked to cancel their trip.
- Regarding Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) Malaysia-Singapore, travelers are advised to take the COVID-19 self-test kit on the third and seventh day after arrival.
Strengthening International Border Restriction
- The use of the autogate system at the immigration department is hereby temporarily disabled.
- A designated lane will be implemented for travelers returning from Omicron-detected countries.
International Students And Migrant Workers
- Admission of international students and migrant workers from Omicron-detected countries to be postponed temporarily.
Langkawi Travel Bubble
- Those coming from Omicron-detected countries are prohibited from joining the program.
- Malaysians from Langkawi returning from Omicron-detected countries are required to undergo the 14-day quarantine.
- Omicron variant positive international tourists in Langkawi will be referred to private hospitals and all medical costs are to be borne by them personally.
Khairy then reminded Malaysians that our battle with Covid-19 is far from over. He once again reminded the public to comply with the SOPs, practice social distancing and accept booster shots when offered.
Stay safe, everyone.
Read the statement from Khairy here: