5 Malaysian ministers under quarantine, await COVID-19 results after Sabah’s pandemic elections

Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, at left, and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri pose with quarantine tags. Photos: Hishammuddin Hussein/Twitter, Ismail Sabri Yaakob/Facebook
Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, at left, and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri pose with quarantine tags. Photos: Hishammuddin Hussein/Twitter, Ismail Sabri Yaakob/Facebook

Malaysia’s cabinet ministers had to cancel its weekly meeting today as five of them were ordered two-week home quarantine after being in Sabah during last week’s elections. 

The ministers ordered to stay home were Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin, Youth and Sports Minister Reezal Merican, and Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Ronald Kiandee. 

Hishammuddin was the only one who had come into contact with election candidate Sufian Abdul Karim, who tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday and has to complete the two-week quarantine even after testing negative twice. 

“There have been rumours saying I am #COVID19 positive – this is not true,” Hishammudin wrote on Twitter Monday. “As instructed by the Ministry of Health, and for the safety of others – I am undergoing compulsory home quarantine,” he added. 

Four districts in Sabah, including Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kunak, and Semporna, entered a two-week lockdown Tuesday after COVID-19 cases surged in the past few days amid the state elections. 

People entering West Malaysia from Sabah are required to undergo COVID-19 swab tests at the airport and be quarantine at home for two weeks.

Defence Minister Ismail wrote on Facebook on Tuesday saying that he needed to stay at home until his COVID-19 swab test results prove he was free of infection. 

“If the test results are negative, I will soon be out of quarantine,” the post stated.

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