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COVID-19 case detected at Johor Causeway on first day of Singapore-Malaysia vaccinated travel lane

COVID-19 case detected at Johor Causeway on first day of Singapore-Malaysia vaccinated travel lane

Local media await the arrival of the first passengers from Singapore arriving at Larkin Station in Johor Bahru on the first day of the Singapore-Malaysia VTL. (Photo: Low Zoey)

SHAH ALAM: A COVID-19 case was detected at the Johor Causeway on the first day of the Singapore-Malaysia land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) on Monday (Nov 29). 

Malaysia's Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the infection was detected through an on-arrival Antigen Rapid Test conducted at the entry point. 

"This matter is being verified through confirmative testing using RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction). We want to use the RT-PCR test to confirm the results of the RTK-Antigen test,” he said during a news conference. 

The Johor Bahru District Health Office is doing a risk assessment on those who travelled on the same bus as the positive case, to decide if the passengers need to be quarantined or subject to other restrictions, said Mr Khairy. 

“Although there is one (positive) case, I do not consider it as something which can derail the VTL. Instead, it should be an example of how pre-departure and on-arrival testing and the like are necessary preventive measures," he added.

“There will be positive cases but the important thing is our diagnostic capability and requirements as well as risk assessment undertaken by PKD (Johor Bahru District Health Office) when such cases happen."

Mr Khairy said Monday is an important day for Malaysia and Singapore, as it marks the reopening of borders that had been closed for about 20 months due to the pandemic. 

“When we receive further information this afternoon, we will issue a statement on the VTL status,” he said.

The two countries launched VTLs via air and land on Monday, with thousands of people set to cross the border.

The VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport was announced on Nov 8, while the land VTL via the Causeway was announced last week.

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Source: Agencies/lk(gs)