Consumers’ Association of Penang exhorts govt to stop accepting medical tourists amid Covid-19 pandemic

A medical worker takes a swab at a Covid-19 drive-through screening area at KPJ Ampang Puteri April 9, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A medical worker takes a swab at a Covid-19 drive-through screening area at KPJ Ampang Puteri April 9, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 17 — The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) exhorted the government to stop medical tourists from entering Malaysia amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement today, CAP said it was shocked that AirAsia provided a medical charter flight from Medan, Indonesia to Penang last Friday.

“Indonesia has declared that there will be no foreign tourists allowed into the country in 2020 because of the alarmingly high number of positive Covid-19 cases.

“By closing their borders, they are taking proactive measures to contain and eradicate the virus that is already within the country, while ensuring that foreign tourists do not bring in the virus from the outside,” the statement continued.

However, it gave Penang Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow, credit for taking the concerns voiced by Penangites seriously and announcing that the state would stop accepting medical tourists.

Earlier today, Chow chaired an emergency meeting to address the uproar over the arrival of two cancer patients and another patient who required immediate medical attention on Aug 14.

He said the Ministry of Health was updating the standard operating procedure (SOP) for medical tourism.

“Therefore, the state government wishes to reiterate our stand not to allow any medical tourists to come into our state until the ministry has finalised its new SOP, especially during this period when Penang still has active Covid-19 cases.

“It is also stressed that all agencies involved in the medical tourism sector are required to keep the state government informed on developments in the sector, so that we can together manage this issue more effectively,” he said. — Bernama

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