Khairy: Close contacts no longer need to undergo quarantine, first phase to begin with public healthcare workers

Source: Malaysian Pediatrics Association, NST

Yesterday (17th February 2022), Malaysian Minister of Health YB Khairy Jamaluddin had introduced a number of new standard operating procedures (SOP) pertinent to the management of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia. Among them include announcing daily COVID-case loads at 10am in the following morning of every day, as well as the potential removal of isolation for those who have been identified as close-contact cases.

Public healthcare workers who are close-contacts will no longer have to quarantine 

According to Astro Awani, the abolishing of a mandatory quarantine period for public healthcare workers who have been identified as close-contacts of COVID-positive patients will begin from next week onwards, as part of the first phase of its implementation. The Ministry of Health adds that a circular had already been issued to public healthcare workers earlier this week on 15th February 2022 in relation to the updated SOP ahead of its announcement.

Healthcare workers who are close contacts of Covid-19 patients no longer need to be quarantined, says Health Minister YB Khairy Jamaluddin.
Healthcare workers who are close contacts of Covid-19 patients no longer need to be quarantined, says Health Minister YB Khairy Jamaluddin. Source: Malaysian Pediatrics Association

During his press conference, Khairy explained that the decision to abolish the need for isolation among individuals identified as close-contacts of COVID-positive patients was done in light of the fact that these sudden periods of quarantine may lead to disruptions to the workplace productivity and progress, as well as in terms of management.

“Close contacts can happen unintentionally, and when it does it can lead to a significant disruption to the economy, workplace management, and so on.”

“A circular has been issued by the health director-general (Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah) whereby healthcare workers who are close contacts, but who don’t display any symptoms, do not need to isolate,” he said.

Instead, they will only be required to conduct COVID tests on certain days to ensure that they remain virus-free. The government is also looking into implementing the very same protocol for the general public, with an announcement set to be made next week concerning the matter.

Private healthcare companies may also implement this new SOP

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has also been instructed to bring the matter of abolishing quarantine periods for close-contact healthcare workers to the private medical sector, should they seek to implement it for their own employees.

However for the time being, the general public is still required to undergo a quarantine period if they have been identified as a close-contact with a COVID-positive individual. Close-contacts who have completed both doses of their vaccinations and have also received their booster doses are only required to quarantine for five days, while those who have yet to receive their booster doses, are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, will have to quarantine for seven days.

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Also read: Health Minister KJ: new law to ban smoking for those born after 2005 will be introduced later this year in M’sia

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