Najib: Excusing ministers from full quarantine could open Malaysia’s doors to dangerous Covid-19 variants

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that a gazetted order allowing ministers to forgo the compulsory 10-day Covid-19 quarantine upon returning from official trips abroad could result in them importing new variants of the coronavirus into Malaysia.

The Pekan MP noted on Facebook that the average incubation time before infection with Covid-19 was detectable was approximately five to six days, beyond the three days of surveillance that ministers only need to conduct under the exemption.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Adham Baba’s order was issued yesterday.

“There is a risk if those who are infected are wrongly released early, leading to them infecting more people under the mistaken assumption that they are free of Covid-19.

“It is even more dangerous if those wrongly released carry the infection from abroad, as there are possibilities for it to be new Covid-19 mutations that are more aggressive, such as the UK variant and the South Africa variant,” he added.

Najib also recalled that there were cases of legislators released from self-quarantine only to eventually test positive for Covid-19.

He cited as examples the cases of Kampung Tunku Assemblyman Lim Yi Wei, Maharani Assemblyman Nor Hayati Bachok and Datuk Amiruddin Yusof State Assemblyman Ayer Limau.

During last year’s Sabah state election, the trio engaged in campaigning for their parties and tested positive following their return to the peninsula.

When it was already at its limit, Najib said it was unwise to expose the country’s health system to more risks from new variants of Covid-19.

“At a time when active cases have already hit 51,000, with the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) capacity long exceeded, it is impossible for our healthcare system to cope should the UK mutation, which infects 70 per cent faster, spreads in our country,” he added.

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