SEPANG - As the airport operator to 39 airports nationwide, Malaysia Airports is playing its role to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the effectiveness of the Movement Control Order (MCO).
The airports being gateways and first entry points into the country are considered places at risk. At the onset of the virus outbreak, we had provided full support to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in placing thermal scanners at the airport and facilitating its personnel to perform manual temperature screening for all international arriving passengers at international airports in Malaysia. Some of early measures we took include the vigilant cleaning and sanitising of our facilities to ensure hygiene at all our airports and providing sanitizers throughout the airports for the safety of the passengers. These efforts continue until today, and more initiatives have been added since such as digital notices to communicate on travel related FAQs for greater passenger awareness, social distancing, and additional temperature screening measures at the departure hall for departing passengers will be introduced in stages.
The thermal scanners used by MOH to carry out the temperature screening are highly sensitive and able to detect body temperatures from a long range, thus allowing health workers to maintain social distance. These procedures continue to be performed diligently and passengers with a body temperature of above 38oC will have to undergo further health screening by MOH.
These thermal scanners are located at strategic locations along the arrival flow of both terminals at KL International Airport (IATA Code: KUL).
For KLIA Main terminal, there are three thermal scanners located at the following locations:
1. Gate C20 at the Satellite Building;
2. Before the International Transfer Border Immigration Counters at the Contact Pier Building; and
3. At the arrival hall before the immigration counters at Main Terminal Building.
Meanwhile for klia2 terminal, there are two thermal scanners located at the following locations:
1. On the Skybridge before the immigration counters; and
2. Before the International Transfer Border Immigration Counters at the arrival hall.
Passengers who exhibit symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath will be immediately referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital while passengers with no symptoms are required to self-quarantine for the next 14 days. Passengers are also given health alert cards by MOH personnel for further reference on their next course of action should they start to exhibit symptoms.
We have also significantly increased our vigilance in maintaining hygiene at the airport. General workers work in shifts round the clock to continuously sanitise the airport’s common amenities and facilities such as lifts, counter tops, trolleys, doorknobs and handrails among others.
In line with the recent implementation of MCO by the government, we have put in place measures to promote social distancing. We have started putting markers of 1 metre gap each, on the floors at the check-in, immigration and customs queueing areas. Likewise, gaps are also introduced in lifts and at the airport seating so that people can use them as a guide in practicing social distance.
Although the airport is considered an essential service and remain open under the MCO, all administrative staff not involved in airport operations are now working from home. Nevertheless, there is sufficient airport staff to ensure that service level is not compromised. Apart from mandatory daily temperature screening, we have also replaced fingerprint screening with card scanning as the method of staff access into secured areas within the airport area.
Retail lots other than those specified under the MCO such as supermarkets, convenience stores selling essential items and essential service providers, are closed. F&B outlets that remain open at the airport only provide take-away service and do not allow for dine-in.
Other airport stakeholders such as the Immigration Department of Malaysia is also strictly enforcing all the travel prohibitions outlined under the MCO for departing and arriving passengers.
Adding to the effectiveness of MCO, the airport will be performing temperature screening for departing passengers. Thermal scanners will be placed before the check in areas at both terminal buildings at KL International Airport (IATA Code: KUL) starting with KLIA Main i.e. Level 5 and Level 3, beginning from 21 March 2020. This initiative will be done in stages based on the availability of the additional thermal scanners and will also be rolled out at klia2 from 23 March onwards. Anyone found with a body temperature of above 38oC will not be allowed to go beyond the check-in areas.
We urge the public to be responsible citizens and to strictly follow the government’s advice and recommendations so that our country will overcome the threat of COVID-19.