7 February 2020
The government has taken further steps to tighten measures against the outbreak of the coronavirus 2019-nCoV which has now reached 27,636 cases, causing at least 630 fatalities globally.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said travel restrictions currently imposed on Chinese visitors from Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province will be expanded to include other regions locked down by the Chinese government.
“The Immigration Department will take action on travel restrictions once the Chinese government declares a locked-down territory,” she said in a statement today.
She said the other steps taken would see checks at entry points to the country to be further enhanced by increasing the number of thermal scanners as well as laboratories to speed up investigation and detection of sample results from suspected coronavirus patients.
“In addition to government hospitals, the Ministry of Health will expand the facility to conduct 2019-nCoV detection tests which include 18 laboratories at Institute of Medical Research (IMR) and National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK), four state public health laboratories and 12 private labs at government hospitals nationwide,” she added.
Dr Wan Azizah said the steps were decided at a special National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) meeting yesterday evening which was attended by Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, the Chief Secretary, the Secretary-General of the relevant ministries, the National Security Council, and the Malaysian Immigration Department.
Dr Wan Azizah said at the moment, the number of coronavirus patients found to be positive in Malaysia remains at 14.
Meanwhile, she said the Foreign Ministry is coordinating the return of 212 non-essential personnel from Malaysia’s embassy and consulates in China.
She said upon their arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the Malaysian diplomatic personnel would be taken to a health checkpoint for health screening which would also include them providing a clinical sampling.
“Those with symptoms will be hospitalised while those without symptoms would be allowed to return home and be kept under home surveillance for up to 14 days.
“They are required immediately to report to a nearby clinic or hospital if they come down with symptoms such as cough, colds, fever, shortness of breath or other health problems,” she said.
She said as of 8pm yesterday, 10 people (from two families) of non-essential staff from the Malaysian Consulate in Guangzhou had arrived at KLIA and were taken straight to the health checkpoint for medical examination. They were allowed to return to their respective homes for surveillance.
Dr Wan Azizah said the government was prepared to assist 34 Malaysian citizens in Wuhan who could not return with the 107 citizens who were repatriated on Feb 4.
“They are currently unable to leave the region, following restrictions imposed by the Chinese government,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said official programmes or activities in public places in Malaysia may continue unless the organiser intends to cancel it.