Travelers From High-Risk Countries Required To Wear Digital Tracking Devices Upon Returning

Travelers arriving from Saudi Arabia will be required to wear digital tracking devices throughout their home surveillance and quarantine periods, starting this week. 

travelers from high-risk countries required to wear digital tracking devices upon returningPhoto via The Star

Health Ministry Khairy Jamaluddin said this in light of the increasing spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Malaysia, with the majority of cases involving individuals who returned from their Umrah pilgrimage. 

Ten countries have been identified as high-risk COVID-19 countries - the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Denmark, Australia, France, Norway, Canada, India, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia which would require returnees to wear the tracking devices.

This is important to control the spread of the COVID-19 variant as the ministry found that most of the individuals allowed to undergo home quarantine failed to comply with the directive, whereby they mingled with family members and even received guests while under quarantine.

According to NST, Khairy said: “We received many cases where the travelers tested negative during the pre-departure COVID test but upon arrival in Malaysia, they were found to be positive. This meant that within those 72 hours (from the pre-departure test until the screening test upon arrival), they could have been infected given Omicron has a high community transmission rate.

“These travelers then head home and come into contact with their families. Their family members who are not under quarantine will carry on with their usual routine and possibly infect others along the way,” he added. 

Khairy added that the ministry also found that a large number of Malaysians who returned from their Umrah pilgrimage, did not observe the home quarantine SOP and even welcomed visitors to “salam untuk ambil berkat, but ended up salam ambil Omicron,” he said. 

Out of the 49 Omicron cases detected on December 24th, 30 of them comprises of returnees from Saudi Arabia, followed by five from the United Kingdom, four from Qatar, three from the United States, two from Nigeria, one each from Turkey, Italy, UAE and Ghana, while one suspected local transmission case.

Khairy said, while the government permitted home quarantine to prepare Malaysia to live with COVID-19, he cautioned Malaysians to strictly observe the Home Surveillance Order (HSO).

Please be responsible, guys! Especially if you’re returning from a high-risk country. Let’s keep each other safe from the new COVID-19 variant. 

By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat