Entry into Sarawak reviewed to stop virus variant

Uggah during the Covid-19 update press conference.

KUCHING: In view of the high risk of transmission of a variant of concern (VOC) — the Delta B.1.617.2 variant — into Sarawak, the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and the State Health Department (JKNS) have reviewed the entry procedures into the state from overseas and other states in the country.

SDMC said it agreed to follow the quarantine procedures set by the Health Ministry (MoH) on June 15, with additional regulations for entry into Sarawak.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on June 22, 85 countries have reported Covid-19 cases involving the Delta B.1.617.2 variant.

“MoH has informed that many states have reported cases involving the SARS-CoV-2 VOC. These include Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, and Perlis which have reported local transmissions of the Covid-19 Delta B.1.617.2 variant,” they said in a statement on Friday (June 25).

They pointed out that the Delta B.1.617.2 variant has high infectiousness and is more contagious, causing health levels to deteriorate rapidly and increasing the risk of hospitalisation.

As such, SDMC has decided that the following screening and quarantine procedures for the respective points of origin would apply.

For all travellers from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – effective immediately:

  • Compulsory to undergo a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test three days before the departure date and upon arrival at the international entry point
  • Undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days at the first point of entry
  • Have a negative RT-PCR test result on Day 18 before being allowed to enter Sarawak
  • Submit an application in the EnterSarawak system
  • Undergo quarantine at a quarantine station in Sarawak until the first RT-PCR repeat swab test in Sarawak is negative (if returning on the same day/24 hours after completing the mandatory quarantine period)

For travellers from other countries – effective immediately:

  • Compulsory to undergo an RT-PCR test three days before the departure date and upon arrival at the international entry point
  • Undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days at the first point of entry
  • Have a negative RT-PCR test result on Day 10 before being allowed to enter Sarawak (if returning on the same day/24 hours after completing the quarantine period)
  • Submit an application in the EnterSarawak system
  • Undergo quarantine for seven days at a quarantine station in Sarawak and take an RT-PCR test on Day 4 of the quarantine

For individuals from Labuan Federal Territory – effective immediately:

  • All citizens and non-citizens who have a history of being in Labuan within 21 days are not allowed to enter Sarawak for the time being, except for emergency purposes (requires approval from SDMC)

For individuals entering from other states – effective June 28:

  • Compulsory to present a negative RT-PCR test result, with the swab taken within three days before entry into Sarawak
  • Submit an application in the EnterSarawak system
  • Undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days at the set quarantine station
  • Undergo an RT-PCR test on Day 10 of quarantine
  • Carry out self-monitoring for at least seven days after being released from quarantine, and conduct a Covid-19 swab test at the nearest health facility immediately if there are symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, difficulty breathing, headache, fatigue, joint pain, or loss of appetite without other identified causes

SDMC said these changes in entry procedures and duration of compulsory quarantine were based on risk assessment carried out from time to time.

“The decision made is important to ensure that the transmission of Covid-19 from outside Sarawak does not occur, especially those involving VOCs and Variants of Interest (VOIs), which are found to spread faster as well as cause a higher risk of death,” they said.