Mutant COVID-19: Ban arrivals from UK, prolong quarantine, says Najib

BAN arrivals for the UK or increase quarantine period for travellers from the country to 14 days (from the current 10 days) as the country is plagued with a mutant strain of COVID-19.

“Yesterday, I appealed to the Government to extend the quarantine period to 14 days for those coming from the UK and other European countries.

“Soon after, countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, France and others have blocked arrivals from the UK as the mutant strain is ravaging the UK.

“However, our Government reduced quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days despite the World Health Organization (WHO) warning against such measures,” stated former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in a Facebook post.

Yesterday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a harsh lockdown on parts of his country after a new mutated strain of COVID-19 was found sweeping across southern England, triggering alarm across Europe.

Johnson warned that the fast-moving new variant of the virus was 70% more transmissible than the existing strains, and was suspected to be the driving force behind a rapid spike in new infections in London and southern England.

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said yesterday that ”timely efforts” to prevent and control the spread of the new COVID-19 strain were necessary.

However, Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah raised eyebrows when the latter announced that returnees from the UK will be allowed in.

“We’re watching the situation closely. For now, all those returning from the UK must be tested as usual and they will be required to undergo the 10-day quarantine period.

“Even if they’ve done the test and it’s negative, they must still do the 10 days as we know within that period, we should be able to detect the virus if it’s in the body,” Noor Hisham was reported saying.

Urging immediate measures, Najib warned that Malaysia’s COVID-19 infection cases was reaching the 100,000 mark, a sign that the ease on movement restriction will only make matters worse.

He added the Government should take pro-active measures to stem the rise of COVID-19 and stop the mutated strain from entering Malaysia.

“We cannot rely on the vaccines alone to do the job. Besides, we are still unclear whether the vaccines will arrive on time and cover as much people as possible.

“I am of the view that the Government should not only ensure Malaysians are safe but they must also feel safe and confident that the authorities are doing everything to protect their wellbeing,” added the Pekan MP. – Dec 22, 2020.

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