According to Code Blue, returnees from Sabah, the state that has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases recently, have complained about having to wait for hours to be screened for the coronavirus by health authorities yesterday. Many raised concerns over the situation as they were scared that it could lead to a new cluster.
The sudden coronavirus tests, which were announced by the government on the same day, were mandatory at the airport for people returning from Sabah after the state election. This had led to long queues, with one traveller taking three hours to line up and complete testing.
An anonymous woman complained to Code Blue by stating that there was a lack of social distancing of at least 1 metre in the queue. She even reported that some people were coughing near others.
“Protocols for testing here not very good (sic). Waiting in line, standing for a long time – women and elderly. No social distancing… People being forced to be near those coughing. Officers informed (sic). Asked for children and elderly and those sick to go forward. Nothing”, she added. She also claimed that a health official said, “70-year-old even can wait (sic)“.
Passengers who arrived KLIA 2 at 1 pm, only completed their COVID-19 test half an hour ago at 9pm. The rest are stranded without water & food. There are old people who has to take meds, babies & breastfeeding moms and hungry children. @MuhyiddinYassin @DGHisham @DrAdhamBaba pic.twitter.com/hnLtjHebfg
— Purry (@thepurryness) September 27, 2020
Ini situasi di KLIA. Mereka ini rakan2 media, ahli politik, jentera parti, pengundi & pelancong bercuti dari Sabah & pulang untuk wajib #COVID19. Menunggu 5-8 sebelum selesai proses. Dari mengutuk @KKMPutrajaya, @MAS @MY_Airports, sila beri cadangan / cari jalan penyelesaian. pic.twitter.com/MzosC1b5fT
— MohdFaizalHassan 🇲🇾 (@f4izalhassan) September 27, 2020
At the testing and registration process, chairs were provided as they issued home surveillance orders and pink wristbands, which took more than an hour, leading to a total of three hours wait time upon touchdown. She also noted that many health officers were working hard, but there was not enough staff, adding that she could see only 15 health officers running the screenings.
Meanwhile, FMT reported that the health ministry has deployed more resources and manpower to KLIA and KLIA 2 to speed up Covid-19 screenings for travellers from Sabah, today.
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said the resources would help alleviate the congestion at the airport.
Malaysia Airports, on the other hand, said both Adham and health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah were on-site to monitor the situation. In a series of posts, they emphasised that priority is being given to the elderly and families with young children for the Covid-19 test.
“Please inform the staff on-site if you require any assistance while waiting in the queue. The health officers are working as quickly as they can in carrying out the tests,” they said.