PUTRAJAYA: The government is set on bringing back the 127 Malaysians who are stuck in the badly -hit Covid-19 countries of Iran and Italy, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar.
He said 48 Malaysians had registered with the embassy in Iran and are ready to be repatriated while in Italy 323 Malaysians had registered but only 79 have agreed to return home.
“The many who have decided to remain in Italy have either settled down there or been living there for a long time,” Kamarudin explained.
He urged those with Malaysian family or friends in Iran and Italy, to urge them to register with the embassies for repatriation.
“They need to do it within the next day or two as arrangements need to be made,” he said.
Evacuees are expected to be brought back within a week or so, depending on how quickly negotiations pan out with the respective governments.
Kamarudin said the 48 returning from Iran comprise embassy staff and their dependents. Despite their return, embassies in both countries will continue to operate.
The deputy ministers then cited the previous two evacuation operations of Malaysians on Feb 3 and 25, both from Wuhan,where 107 and 66 persons were evacuated, then quarantined here in Malaysia for 14 days before being screened and cleared to return home.
Meanwhile, Kamarudin urged Malaysians to avoid, cancel or postpone all travel to Europe.
He said the decision to repatriate Malaysians from other European countries which have been hit by the virus will be made known soon by the National Disaster Relief Agency (Nadma), currently in consultation with other ministries and agencies.
He said Nadma is constantly monitoring the growth and reach of the outbreak and actions taken by other countries in regard to Covid-19.