Home quarantine flouters have been seen eating and shopping, even though they are supposed to be staying at home.
But how much of a risk do these irresponsible people really pose? Let’s find out…
Quarantine Flouters Breaking Home Quarantine
When Malaysia started implementing the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) on 10 June 2020, they started replacing quarantine centres with home quarantine.
Instead of forcing every person returning from overseas to stay at designated quarantine centres or hotels, they let them stay at home instead for 14 days.
However, quite a few home quarantine flouters have abused this leniency, and netizens have been posting their pictures online.
Home Quarantine Flouters : How Much Of A Risk Are They?
While netizens are justifiably angry about home quarantine flouters, how much of a risk do they really pose?
Fact #1 : They Have All Tested Negative
Everyone who enters Malaysia by land, sea or air from 10 June 2020 onwards have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test using the Antigen Rapid Test Kit.
Those who test negative are allowed to go home, where they must observe a mandatory 14-day quarantine, with a wristband that they cannot remove.
If their test results cannot be obtained within a few hours, they would be taken to quarantine centres to await their results.
Those who test positive are immediately taken to the hospital for treatment.
So these under home quarantine have at least passed the initial COVID-19 antigen test at the airport / port.
Fact #2 : The Antigen Test Isn’t 100% Accurate
Unfortunately, the antigen rapid test kit isn’t 100% accurate (no test is), and may return a false negative result.
In other words, the first negative test does NOT mean the returnee is free from COVID-19. That’s why the SOP is to test twice.
Those undergoing home quarantine are required to get tested a second time on Day 13 at selected government and private clinics.
Only after they test negative for the second time, are they allowed to have their wristband removed and be discharged officially at the District Health Office.
This ensures that these returnees are really free from COVID-19 before they are allowed to leave their homes.
Fact #3 : Returnees Have Created New COVID-19 Clusters
The Malaysia Director General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah pointed out recently that returnees have created three of the 13 new COVID-19 clusters :
- Novgorod PUI Cluster
- Shirala PUI Cluster
- Pitakwa PUI Cluster
This should reinforce the fact that the initial antigen RTK test on entry is not foolproof. That is why a second antibody test is required.
Home Quarantine Flouters : Still Breaking The Law
While the majority of returnees who test positive are probably free of COVID-19, there is a chance that some of them might still be infected with COVID-19.
And since there is no way to know who has it, all returnees under home quarantine should be considered potentially infected / infectious.
That’s why the government made it a crime to break the home quarantine requirements and SOP, with a fine of RM 1000.
Anyone who is seen breaking their home quarantine should be reported to the government.
But make sure they are really breaking their home quarantine and not just getting tested a second time!
Please note that returnees are required to get tested a second time at specially-certified government and private clinics!
The End Of Home Quarantine!
Because so many recent COVID-19 cases were linked to returnees and possibly because so many quarantine flouters were reported, Malaysia will no longer allow home quarantine.
From Friday, 24 July 2020 onwards, all returnees must undergo their mandatory 14-day quarantine at selected hotels or COVID-19 quarantine centres.
COVID-19 : How To Keep Safe!
Here are a few simple steps to stay safe from COVID-19 :
- Stay at home or shelter in place
- Keep your hands clean with soap or hand sanitiser
- Keep your home, office, vehicle, etc. clean
- If you must go out, maintain a social distance of 6 feet (2 metres)
- Wear a surgical mask and make sure you put it on and remove it properly!
- Wash your food with water (and soap) after purchase and before preparation
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