Foreign workers with permit may return to work, says Ismail Sabri

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

DOCUMENTED foreign workers in Malaysia may now resume working once their respective sectors have reopened, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Ismail Sabri said the permission was, however, subject to the condition that everyone will undergo a Covid-19 screening test before returning to work.

“There are many foreign workers in our country who have work permits and when their workplaces are closed, they are unemployed,” he said in his Recovery Movement Control Order press conference yesterday.

He added that the special ministerial meeting has decided to allow them to resume working since many industries in the country have reopened.

Ismail Sabri also said food premises that serve buffet food are reminded to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs), as some premises fail to do so.

Among the SOPs that need to be complied with is, food will be served by the waiter to the customer instead of allowing them to handle the food themselves.

“We do not want the spoon to be held in turn by the customers. So, the premises could also provide disposable plastic gloves to the customer if they are taking the food,” he said.

Food premises that do not comply with the necessary SOPs will be compounded under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

Separately, the Health Ministry is looking to place travellers in hotels or training centres for mandatory quarantine as previously implemented.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the move was proposed to prevent more clusters such as the Novgorod Patient Under Investigation from recurring.

As of yesterday, Malaysia recorded three new Covid-19 positive cases yesterday involving two foreign nationals and one import case.

A new Covid-19 cluster called Mambong cluster was also found by the ministry yesterday, involving a company in Sarawak that has infected two individuals so far.

The increase in new cases yesterday brought the country’s overall total to 8,737.

There are now 77 active Covid-19 cases being treated at health facilities nationwide. Among the active cases yesterday, three were placed in the intensive care unit (ICU), with one case under ventilator support.

Whereas, 12 patients have recovered, increasing the total recovered cases in the country to 8,538, equals to 97.8% as of yesterday.

No new deaths have been recorded, as the country’s death tally remains at 122.

Dr Noor Hisham noted that Malaysia’s Covid-19 testing rates are much lower compared to other countries because we do not have as many cases as before.

The authorities, he said, are now focused on screening the people with severe acute respiratory infection, pneumonia and those with common flu symptoms.

“The virus is now well controlled in the population. If it’s not controlled well, we will see more cases in our wards and ICUs,” he said.

In Parliament yesterday, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had questioned if Malaysia’s low Covid-19 numbers are correct, since the country’s testing rates are much lower than other countries.

Dr Noor Hisham said as of now, Malaysia has conducted tests on 863,394 individuals which roughly translate to 27.14 tests per 1,000 people.