MIRI, Aug 22 ― There have been cases of non-Sarawakians flying into Sarawak through Miri Airport who have refused to undergo the mandatory quarantine requirement and instead chosen to take the next available flight out.
Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin said they took this option in response to the mandatory quarantine ordered by the State Disaster Management Committee to quarantine all those arriving from outside the state.
“Some non-Sarawakians did not want to fork out the money for this mandatory quarantine and decided they could take the next flight out,” he said without disclosing the actual figure of those involved.
He said the Sarawak government covers the cost of accommodation and food for all Sarawakians required to undergo quarantine at the respective hotels starting from the day of arrival and Covid-19 tests during the 14-day period.
Lee visited the airport yesterday together with representatives from the Miri Resident’s Office, Health Department, Civil Defence Department, Immigration Department, and Miri Airport.
He called on front-line agencies to arrange for two dedicated lanes at the airport from yesterday to expedite Covid-19 screening for returning Sarawakians.
He said segregating Sarawakians from non-Sarawakians and directing them into two dedicated lanes would help ease congestion as their clearance procedure is simpler and less time consuming.
“Lumping all passengers together prolongs waiting time as more questions need to be posed to non-Sarawakians compared to Sarawakians, and it could take up to over an hour to complete as it takes an average of five minutes for each person for a full commercial flight,” he said.
During the visit, they found over 200 passengers landing five minutes apart, including one flight from Johor Bahru, resulting in congestion.
Lee added he had written to request AirAsia space out the landing time of flights to avoid congestion to facilitate a smoother experience for its passengers upon arrival. ― Borneo Post