KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): The Ministry of Health (MoH) will hold off plans to implement new Covid-19 guidelines that mandate the crew of both commercial and cargo airlines arriving in Malaysia to undergo fever screening and rapid antigen (RTK-Ag) tests, said industry stakeholders.
It is understood that MoH has decided to postpone indefinitely the implementation of the new guidelines, which it announced in a circular dated Nov 11 and were supposed to come into effect on Nov 21.
Both foreign and local aircrew of commercial and cargo airlines are currently not required to undergo RTK-Ag tests after arriving in Malaysia.
“In the latest circular dated Nov 22, MoH said it will review and discuss the Covid-19 procedures for the aircrew,” an industry stakeholder told theedgemarkets.com on Tuesday (Nov 23).
This decision comes after appeals from airlines to withdraw the proposed guidelines. theedgemarkets.com had reported on Nov 17 that industry stakeholders had lamented that under the proposed guidelines, foreign and local aircrew — including pilots, cabin crew, engineers, loadmasters, security and training pilots — would need to take Covid-19 tests every time they arrive in Malaysia and this may take up to two to three hours.
“Crew members are required to have a 10-hour rest period within each 24-hour cycle. Thus, the new RTK-Ag test requirement may affect the optimal rest time available to the crew,” one industry stakeholder was quoted as saying.
Other industry stakeholders had said that some foreign airlines, which had suspended flights to Malaysia after the country closed its borders in March last year, had also threatened to hold off plans to reinstate their flights even as Malaysia is set to reopen its borders to international travellers by Jan 1.
The proposed guidelines also require a crew member who is tested positive to undergo a seven-day hotel/home quarantine in the country or until the next flight scheduled.