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After PM’s Remark, Health DG Clarifies Covid-19 Testing For Foreigners Is Still Free

After PM’s Remark, Health DG Clarifies Covid-19 Testing For Foreigners Is Still Free


As the number of Covid-19 cases continue to climb in Malaysia, testing and detection of the virus is an important step in battling its spread.

When Covid-19 hit our shores in January, the government of the day soon followed with the decision to exempt foreigners from medical fees charged for coronavirus tests or treatment at public hospitals.

However, 6 days into the movement control order (MCO), news broke in the afternoon that this decision had apparently been reversed.

In a press conference on 23rd March, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that regular fees still apply to foreigners who come forward to get tested for the virus. He urged foreigners to get tested to ensure they’re not infected and was quoted saying “even if they go to hospital, some of the costs are borne by the government for citizens only. If they’re foreign, then they must pay.”

Hearing of this, the online backlash was swift and imminent with many expressing their shock and horror.

But no more than a few hours later, health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah clarified that foreign nationals who have Covid-19 symptoms do not need to pay outpatient treatment fee at government hospital or clinics.

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, health director-general.
(Credit: Malay Mail)

In the daily press conference for Covid-19 updates, he stated that the directive for Covid-19 testing in foreigners remained in line with the Health Ministry circular dated 29th January.

If a foreigner comes to the ministry’s clinic or hospital for non Covid-19 illnesses, they will be charged a fee set by the government. For Covid-19, as noted in the January 29 circular, fee will not be imposed on their regardless if they are rich or poor.

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Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, health director-general via Malay Mail.

Foreigners need to be tested for Covid-19

As a major source of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia and the region, rapid identification of the 2th February tabligh gathering at the Seri Petaling mosque is vital to control the outbreak.

It has been reported that a significant number of Rohingyas and other foreigners, at least 1,500 people, attended the event who could potentially be exposed and infected with the virus.

The Seri Petalig mosque tabligh gathering had at least 12,000 attendees.
(Credit: Facebook via Free Malaysia Today)

It is also noted that migrant workers may also be reluctant to visit government health facilities for fear of deportation, especially those who were undocumented.

At the moment, Covid-19 testing in private facilities costs between RM400 and RM700.

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