Students allowed to go home from April 27 but only to green zones

Tens of thousands of students have been stranded on campus since mid-March. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: University students who have been stranded on campus since the movement control order (MCO) kicked in on March 18 will be allowed to return to their home towns beginning April 27.

However, travel will be restricted from 9pm to 9am, and to green zones only.

They will be transported by bus, with passenger capacity limited to ensure social distancing throughout the journey.

“The students will be screened for symptoms before boarding the buses, and will be given food and face masks,” senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at a press conference here today.

The students will be dropped off at district offices or the police stations nearest their homes. From there, they will be sent to their doorsteps by the relevant government agencies.

Ismail said students who possess their own vehicles will be allowed to drive home, but only within the state, with one person per car.

“So students at a campus in Selangor can only drive back to their homes in Selangor,” he added. “They are not allowed to cross to another state.”

Students who drive home themselves must obtain a letter from their institution or the nearest police station before beginning their journey.

Students from East Malaysia meanwhile will be flown to the airports closest to their homes.

They will need to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

Ismail said about 85% of the students – roughly 53,000 – had decided to return home while the remaining 15% had elected to remain on campus.

“Maybe some of them are sitting for exams or won’t be able to continue their online courses back home where there is no internet,” he added.

He also said the government would bear the expenses for students returning home by bus.

On a separate matter, Ismail said police had arrested 550 people for breaching the MCO, pushing the total number of offenders to 19,048.

Another 238 investigation papers into fake news related to Covid-19 have also been opened, 170 of which are being probed and 24 of which have been brought to court. Thirteen individuals have pleaded guilty.

Urging Malaysians to be cautious when spreading news, he said: “If you’re unsure, don’t share.”

To date, 16,186 people are undergoing quarantine at 204 centres nationwide.

As of yesterday, 1,426 Malaysians had returned home and were undergoing quarantine.

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