Dr Noor Hisham: Quarantine compliance among returnees a major challenge

PUTRAJAYA: A major challenge of mandatory quarantine is the lack of compliance among returnees rather than where the quarantine is observed, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the problem with home quarantine lies on those who fail to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

"They are supposed to be under quarantine, but they still interact closely with their family members. If they are positive, they will infect their families.

"There are three clusters that were reported due to this reason; the Novgorod PUI (person under investigation) cluster, where the son passed the virus to his father, a case of a person who returned from Nigeria who infected his son and family; and a case where a person returned from India and infected his roommate. This is not supposed to happen if they adhere to the SOPs.

"Same goes to those observing mandatory quarantine at a centre, if they interact with others at the centre such as pray together, this will also cause infections. So it is not about whether ( they are) at home or at a centre, ( it) is about compliance," he said at a press conference here today.

Dr Noor Hisham said since the implementation of the Recovery Movement Control Order on June 10, more than 22,000 returnees were placed under home quarantine.

"Most of the returnees complied with the SOPs. Only a handful of them violated the rules. To solve the issue, every returnee will be placed at a quarantine centre for the 14-day mandatory quarantine," he said.

Earlier today, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said both Malaysians and non-Malaysians returning to the country from abroad must now undergo quarantine at hotels or designated centres instead of their homes starting July 24.

When asked about a recent viral photo of a woman said to be under Covid-19 Home Surveillance Order, who was allegedly spotted enjoying a meal at a food court in Bandar Meru Raya, Perak, Dr Noor Hisham said: "We are aware of the incident and investigation is ongoing to identify the individual as she has violated the rules. Action will be taken."

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