Ismail Sabri: No compulsory student mass Covid-19 testing for now
Students have their temperature taken at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Methodist (ACS), Ipoh January 20, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today clarified that Covid-19 swab tests are not compulsory for students returning to school, despite reports of pupils in Lipis and Sabah testing positive for the coronavirus.

He clarified that, as of now, the special National Security Council (NSC) meeting with the Ministry of Health (MOH) has decided that only symptomatic students must be swabbed before returning to their schools or hostels, or before sitting for exams.

“As of now, we follow MOH’s decision that only students with symptoms must be tested. If we make it compulsory for all, then there is a cost factor for parents that we have to think about.

“That’s why this matter is still under discussion as we can’t burden parents with the test cost. So upon the advice of MOH, we have decided there is no need to test all students for now,” he said during his daily security briefing this evening.

“I will continue to discuss this matter with the MOH should any cases arise from this decision,” he added.

Similarly, after his security briefing, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also said MOH won’t be running mass tests on students returning to school.

“We will conduct screenings if there is a positive case, or for those who have come into contact with a positive case. We are not screening all citizens or all students returning to school,” he said during his daily health briefing.

On Tuesday, it was reported that 86 MARA Junior Science College (MRSM) students sitting for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) in Lipis have been placed in quarantine after a pupil tested positive for Covid-19.

Yesterday, Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Masidi Manjun also confirmed 36 SPM and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) students in the state have tested positive for Covid-19 so far.