PUTRAJAYA, Sept 28 — The long waiting time for passengers from Sabah to undergo COVID-19 screening at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is not due to the lack of Health Ministry (MOH) staff but  as a result of overwhelming number of passengers.

Health director-general Tan Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said each passenger takes about 10 to 15 minutes but their turn may take a long time as there were many passengers.

“Screening of passengers for each flight is at least two hours or more. If more than one flight arrived at the same time, the time taken would be much longer.

“The problem is due to overwhelming number of passengers. So please wait and be patient,” he said on complaints and reports that passengers have to wait for up to six hours to take COVID-19 screening test.

 When met after opening the 7th Malaysia Breast Care Nurse Meeting 2020 at the National Cancer Institute here today, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH had added 90 more personnel at the main terminal of KLIA and Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2), bringing the number of health personnel to 400.

On Saturday, Dr Noor Hisham announced that the requirement for individuals arriving from Sabah to undergo COVID-19 screening at the arrival gate from Sept 27 until Oct 10.

Dr Noor Hisham who also visited KLIA at 3 am to 5 am today said the situation is under control and MOH staff are working double shifts for 16 hours.

According to him, the swab test is conducted via two methods, nasal and oral swabs and passengers would then be tagged with wristbands, briefed on COVID-19 and actions they must take.

Dr Noor Hisham said the results of the screening test on passengers from Sabah would be known in 24 to 72 hours.

“Those found positive would be sent to the hospital while those tested negative but have exposure to positive cases would be quarantined for 14 days,” he said.

Asked whether MOH would be giving any advice to Sabah as the election is over, Dr Noor Hisham said subsequent measures for Sabah would be announced today.

On COVID-19 cases reported in several shopping centres in the Klang Valley, Dr Noor Hisham said they could be due to individuals who are unware they are COVID-19 positive. 

“When we received information (on COVID-19 cases) at shopping centres, the areas would be decontaminated as a preventive measure,” he said.


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