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Foreign students can return to campus, international schools from Jan 1

— International students will be allowed to return to their respective campuses to resume their studies for the 2021 academic year, effective Jan 1, except those from the United Kingdom (UK) due to the latest COVID-19 situation in that country.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said also included are existing students resuming their studies and new students who received offers from the country’s public and private higher learning institutions.

“Apart from getting a place at the university, they must have secured an accommodation as well, as we do not want them to come here first then to find a place to stay. Once everything in place prior to their arrival, only then we will allow them to return here,” he said at a press conference on the development of Movement Control Order (MCO) today.

He said the government also agreed to allow foreign students at international and private schools to return here accompanied by a guardian, also effective Jan 1.

However, he said it is subject to existing students whose application have been given approval and obtained a visa from the Immigration Department.

Ismail Sabri said all students and their guardians must comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set, including undergoing a swab test three days prior leaving for Malaysia as well as at the entry point, and undergo 10 days quarantine at the quarantine centre.

“The cost of the COVID-19 test must be borne by students or their guardians. The detailed SOPs and conditions for this will be announced by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE),” he said.

Asked whether Malaysian students will also be allowed to return to campus in January, Ismail Sabri said that the MOHE will make an announcement on the matter.

Meanwhile, on whether the government will ban flights from the UK following the discovery of a more infectious and ‘out of control’ COVID-19 variant, he said that the matter would be decided after obtaining a risk assessment from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“As for the new strain situation in the UK, as mentioned by the director-general of Health (Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah), we are still monitoring. We will get a report from the MOH in a special meeting of the National Security Council.

“If further action is needed, then we will announce it. Let the MOH make a risk assessment first,” he said.

He also stressed that Malaysia’s international borders are still closed except in certain cases.

The media reported that some countries such as in Europe had blocked flights from Britain after the finding of a new strain in London, United Kingdom, spreading out of control.

On the government’s plans towards reopening the country’s international borders, Ismail Sabri said that the government is still monitoring the matter.

“Thus far, we are looking at it. The Foreign Ministry will be involved as well. The situation may change in the near future. There are plans but we will see the current situation first before we announce anything,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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