COVID-19: Singapore, Malaysia to enhance cooperation in battling outbreak

Delegates of the joint working group between Singapore and Malaysia observe the border health screening facilities at the JB Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex. (PHOTO: Ministry of Health/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — Singapore and Malaysia have agreed on the terms of reference for a joint working group to enhance the two countries’ cooperation in preventing and controlling the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

According to a media statement by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (26 February), the joint working group will be co-led by the deputy health ministers of both countries.

The group’s first meeting was held in Johor Bahru on Tuesday. The Singapore delegation was led by Dr Benjamin Koh, MOH’s deputy secretary (development), while his counterpart was Dr Chong Chee Kheong, deputy director general of health (public health).

During the meeting, both countries updated each other on the COVID-19 situations in their respective countries, shared existing screening protocols at the two land borders, and began discussion on joint-border cooperation.

Delegates also visited the health screening facilities at Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex in Johor Bahru.

The joint working group agreed to continue entry screening at both countries and align health screening protocols at the land borders; exchange information on clinical management of patients between technical experts; activate a bilateral Field Epidemiology Training Network to share surveillance data; and exchange information such as national advisories and public messaging on COVID-19.

The second meeting of the joint working group is scheduled for March.

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