A total of five positive cases of COVID-19 were identified from departures to Langkawi yesterday, 16 September.
According to Health director-general (DG) Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the five individuals were from a total of 2,546 people who were screened at entry points to the island.
“The five cases detected are of Category 1, which do not show any symptoms. They have been issued with the Home Surveillance Order (HSO) and have to be isolated for 10 days,” the Health DG was quoted as saying by New Straits Times.
Noor Hisham said that 1,250 people were screened for COVID-19 at four airports before departure, while 1,296 others at the mainland Kuala Perlis ferry terminal.
Policymakers were earlier conflicted on whether to impose mandatory screenings as a requirement for entry
On 13 September, the Tourism & Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri announced that visitors to Langkawi will not be made to take a COVID-19 test, according to Free Malaysia Today, which sparked mass consternation online.
In a dizzying reversal, reported The Edge, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced two days later that mandatory screenings will be imposed to all, with the only exception being children aged six and below.
In response, Nancy said the move was a positive one, albeit announced at the eleventh hour and caused tourism operators to scramble in confusion.
“Before this I announced no (COVID-19) swab test, then suddenly the Health Ministry said yes,” she was quoted by Bernama.
In a CNA report, Malaysia Airlines and airasia both recounted full passenger loads on their maiden flights to Langkawi.
The latter low cost carrier announced that they are seeing a “strong rebound for domestic travel” and that they will be resuming all 90 weekly flights to the island from hubs across the country.
airasia CEO Riad Asmat even said that over 200,000 tickets to Langkawi were sold in less than a week, reported Bernama.
Meanwhile, the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) said that they expect around 400,000 visitors to the island by the end of this year.