CORONAVIRUS CONFIRMED IN MALAYSIA – ‘WE WON’T BLOCK THEM BUT WILL CHECK THEM’: MAHATHIR SAYS NO PLANS TO RESTRICT VISAS FOR CHINESE TOURISTS AFTER 3 CHINESE NATIONALS FROM WUHAN QUARANTINED IN SUNGAI BULOH:

MINISTER of Health Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has confirmed three people have contracted the coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China.

Dzulkefly said the victims are three Chinese nationals from Wuhan, who entered the country through Johor Baru, and are currently being treated at Sungai Buloh Hospital, where they are in a stable condition.

“They were reported to have boarded a flight from Guangzhou to Singapore on January 20. Early screenings did not return any sign of fever and they did not have any symptoms of infection.

“Subsequent clinical samples were taken among these contacts for detection tests and further 2019-nCoV tests at the National Public Health Laboratory in Sungai Buloh, and the cases were confirmed last night,” he said.

The virus has infected at least 1,300 people in China alone and Wuhan has been quarantined by Beijing in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.

Health experts said some human-to-human transmission has been recorded, while Dzulkefly said the three people in Sungai Buloh Hospital are close relatives of a 66-year old Chinese national in Singapore, confirmed to have contracted the virus. -the malaysian insight

No plans to stop Chinese tourists coming to Malaysia, PM says

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has no plans yet to restrict or review visas for Chinese tourists but will monitor them closely upon arrival, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“At the moment, we are examining tourists coming here, especially from China. We will not block them but we will check them,” he told reporters after attending a Chinese New Year open house event at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here.

He was asked if the government would review the policy on Chinese tourists who are given a free visa for up to 15 days in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali celebrate Chinese New Year with DAP’s Liew Chin Tong and Teresa Kok (third and fourth left) as well as members from the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

He also said the three Chinese citizens confirmed as having the new SARS-like virus would be quarantined to stop the spread of the disease.

He advised Malaysians to wear masks when among crowds.

Mahathir said immigration checks, including scanning of those entering the country, from the early stages of news of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, had helped the government control the situation.

Mahathir noted that China had imposed strict restrictions on its citizens flying out of the country.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his deputy Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali looking at Chinese calligraphy.

The 11 million residents of Wuhan, China, the ground zero where the virus was first reported, were also under quarantine, Mahathir added.

Mahathir said the 15-day visa was issued by Putrajaya for Chinese tourists before the news of the coronavirus was reported, adding that China had also given Malaysians a three-year visa.

He said the spread of any virus had to be handled cautiously as more and more people were travelling worldwide, and some passengers were bringing along animals into Malaysia.

“If we are not careful, we are also open to these (types) of dangerous diseases,” he said.

So far the virus has killed 41 people in China and has spread to many countries, including the United States, Singapore and Thailand. FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

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