Experts: Reducing quarantine period to three days for cabinet ministers has ‘no scientific rationale’

Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar raised concerns that reducing the quarantine period for ministers could lead to widespread community infections and erode public trust. Source (pic): TTF Files

ڤاكر: تياد اساس ساءينتيفيك كورڠكن تيمڤوه كوارنتين باڬي منتري كڤد 3 هاري

Public health experts contend that reducing the quarantine period to three days for cabinet ministers who return from abroad has “no scientific rationale”.

They also believe that given the higher risk of infection carried by those returning from abroad, failure to observe the standard quarantine period could lead to widespread community infection, as well as the erosion of public trust.

The latest federal government gazette under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Exemption) Order 2021, published on the Attorney-General’s Chambers website on Monday, stated that cabinet ministers are no longer subjected to mandatory home quarantine for 10 days like other overseas returnees.

Instead, the ministers are only required to undergo three days of observation or surveillance before they are discharged with a clean bill of health.

Signed by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, the order takes effect from yesterday until Aug 1.


KUALA LUMPUR: Public health experts contend that reducing the quarantine period to three days for cabinet ministers who return from abroad has “no scientific rationale”.

They also believe that given the higher risk of infection carried by those returning from abroad, failure to observe the standard quarantine period could lead to widespread community infection, as well as the erosion of public trust.




Epidemiologist and biostatistician Associate Professor Dr Malina Osman said current studies suggested that the median incubation of the Covid-19 virus infection was 7.76 days.

“The infectious period starts two days before the symptoms and persists for seven to 10 days after the symptoms.

“So, setting the quarantine period for at least 10 days is based on evidence that asymptomatic individuals are no longer infectious after that period.

“Hence, I am not sure how the three days quarantine period was determined scientifically,” she told the New Straits Times.

Dr Malina stressed that uniform procedures and standard health regulations were required as discrepancies would mislead the public and spread negative perception towards the health authorities.

While the Health Ministry has a properly documented process for the implementing of home quarantine, Dr Malina called on the ministry to empower the local community to bolster its monitoring mechanism.

“Due to overwhelming active cases, the ministry should empower volunteers or trained government and private healthcare staff who are working from home to monitor patients undergoing home quarantine,” she said.

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The latest federal government gazette under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Exemption) Order 2021, published on the Attorney-General’s Chambers website on Monday, stated that cabinet ministers are no longer subjected to mandatory home quarantine for 10 days like other overseas returnees.

Instead, the ministers are only required to undergo three days of observation or surveillance before they are discharged with a clean bill of health.

Signed by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, the order takes effect from yesterday until Aug 1.

The government had before this shortened the mandatory quarantine period in Malaysia for travellers returning from abroad and close contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19 from 14 to 10 days.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar also raised concerns that reducing the quarantine period for ministers could lead to widespread community infections and erode public trust.

“Returnees from overseas actually have a higher risk of contracting and transmitting the virus due to the emergence of new Covid-19 variants around the world.

“Furthermore, the group getting this exemption (cabinet ministers) are a highly mobile group that actively interacts with community members and this could increase transmission risk to the community.

“The exemption also sends a mixed message to the people, which will widen the trust deficit in the government and the Health Ministry, in particular,” he said.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Professor Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy also strongly opposed the three-day quarantine exemption order and urged the government to revoke the regulation.

“This smacks of double standards and we strongly urge that the new order be revoked immediately.

“Careful consideration must be exercised with any new order issued under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342) and any decisions in managing the pandemic must be based on science and evidence.

“If the government wants the people to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures, it should lead by example and abide by the same rules.

“The same 10-day quarantine period should apply to all regardless of position. The government must put a stop to the double standards.”

Source:

NOTA: SAYA MEMBUAT PENGUMUMAN-PENGUMUMAN PENTING DARI MASA KE SEMASA EKSKLUSIF MENERUSI SALURAN TELEGRAM BERIKUT:



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