Dr Noor Hisham explains why Santhara was allowed home quarantine

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The health ministry said today that deputy minister Edmund Santhara was allowed home quarantine as he had returned from a low-risk country and had a home suitable for quarantine.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that in making a recommendation on quarantine, the ministry would perform a risk assessment and take into consideration “all factors and the place of quarantine”.

“Among the considerations (are that) New Zealand (is a) low-risk country (and) he has a suitable home for quarantine,” Noor Hisham told Malaysiakini.

He had been asked for a response to criticisms by an airline pilot who sought to be placed in home quarantine so he could care for his cancer-stricken mother.

The pilot, S Mani Vannan of Singapore Airlines, said his request had been refused, describing the decision as devastating. He said he had sought exemption early last month after doing seven Covid-19 tests and having been vaccinated in Singapore.

Santhara was recently allowed to undergo home quarantine after a controversial 55-day trip to New Zealand to see his family amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.

In an email to Noor Hisham, Mani Vannan asked how he could be trusted when he allegedly risked citizens’ lives by allowing home quarantine for Santhara.

He also accused Noor Hisham of practising double standards.

The ministry, in rejecting Mani Vannan’s request, said the requirement for quarantine is mandatory for all Malaysians and non-citizens returning from abroad even though they brought along the Covid-19 vaccination certificate. – FMT