PETALING JAYA: Only travellers from China who are fully vaccinated and show negative RT-PCR test results should be allowed to enter the country starting Sunday, urged the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

The association’s president, Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai, said in a statement such measures are necessary to prevent a Covid-19 surge.

“We urge the Health Ministry (MOH) to take all necessary measures to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, including testing of travellers from China when it reopens its borders this Jan 8.

“Even if the dominant Covid-19 variants in China have already been detected in Malaysia, all precautions should be taken to prevent a surge. For now, as China is experiencing a rise in cases of Covid-19.

“Apart from current preventive measures, the government here should make it a requirement that only fully vaccinated travellers from China with a negative RT-PCR test result be allowed entry and upon arrival at the entry point or within 24 hours, undergo professional RTK Antigen screening for Covid-19,” he said.

Dr Muruga added the same should also be done for travellers from other countries experiencing a significant rise in cases.

“Although precautionary measures are being taken by MOH to prepare for the possibility of a surge, we feel more needs to be done to prevent imported Covid-19 cases.

“We are concerned that with the shortages in manpower at our public healthcare facilities, the healthcare system can still be overwhelmed if cases requiring hospitalisation and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission start to surge.

“The government can look at a gradual opening to visitors from China and relax restrictions when the Covid-19 situation there improves significantly,” he added.

Dr Muruga said while the association acknowledges that Malaysia will definitely stand to benefit economically from tourism, it must be ensured that public health and safety remain the highest priority.

The Chinese authorities had previously said that from Jan 8, overseas travellers would no longer need to quarantine upon arriving in China, paving the way for Chinese residents to travel.