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PUTRAJAYA, March 4 -- The government has agreed to exempt COVID-19 screening fee for 18,600 students of local institutions of higher learning (IPT) who will have to travel out of Sabah, Sarawak, or the Peninsula to begin their study sessions on campus.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said all the students involved in the three categories were exempted from paying for the test at Ministry of Health (MOH) facilities.
"They are students from Sarawak, Labuan and the Peninsula (heading) to Sabah, students from Sabah to the Peninsula, Sarawak and Labuan; as well as students from the Peninsula and Labuan to Sarawak," he said.
Speaking at a press conference after launching a book on COVID-19 published by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Press in a virtual event on Thursday, Dr Adham said the move was expected to cost the government about RM2.79 million.
The book entitled ‘Impak COVID-19 Terhadap Insan’ (Impact of COVID-19 on Humankind) was produced by a group of researchers from the Centre of Value Creation and Human Wellbeing at UKM’s Faculty of Economics and Management.
According to Dr Adham, the decision was taken in line with the government's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, by requiring all students to undergo a COVID-19 screening test before beginning their study sessions.
In another development, Dr Adham said 80,336 individuals had so far received the first dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the majority of whom were frontliners listed under Phase One of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme which began on Feb 24.
According to him, about 271 million people have received the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, with the United States recording the highest number of recipients at 80.5 million, followed by China (52.5 million), the European Union (35.6 million) and the United Kingdom (21.5 million).
He said Malaysia ranked 68th out of the total number of countries that have and are currently receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.