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Ismail Sabri: COVID-19 test not mandatory but encouraged for workers in red zones

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced more details about the ‘work-from-home‘ order. Based on the latest update, swab tests are mandatory for foreign workers but encouraged for Malaysians residing in red zones.

There’s has been a lot of confusion as the authorities have sent messages to everyone stating that all workers in red zones must undergo COVID-19 tests. Even Ismail Sabri himself addressed the issue.

“I saw since yesterday that the entire country panicked,” he chuckled, “A lot of people were confused as the announcement yesterday was too general. But I said that I was to make a more detailed announcement today.”

This morning, an announcement was made to say that employees of management and supervisory roles are to work from home and would be enforced on 22 October. To clarify, Ismail Sabri said that this doesn’t apply to employees of management and supervisory roles from “important and critical sectors”.

Besides these, he also said that a lot of sectors that he calls “informal sectors”—including food, groceries, agriculture, restaurants, and others—are allowed to continue work as long as they keep SOPs in mind. As for office workers in other sectors, he said that Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) will provide more details and the public can contact them for more info.

The Senior Minister also clarified that besides foreign staff, anyone displaying symptoms are also compelled to undergo the COVID-19 swab test. For Malaysians residing in red zones, it isn’t compulsory to go for swab test but it is encouraged.

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So, where are the red zones?

Source: Facebook

The red zones include areas in 5 states—Sabah, Selangor, Perak, Pulau Pinang and Kedah. Do check the above graphic to see if your area applies.

PERKESO has announced earlier today that contributing employees can get tested for COVID-19 for free. The swab tests will be paid for by PERKESO and they have provided a list of panel centres. Employers can contact them to make an appointment but due to the last minute announcement, most phone numbers are busy throughout the afternoon.


Dzamira Dzafri