Coronavirus: No plans to stop Chinese tourists for now: PM Mahathir

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA 

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government has no plans to stop Chinese tourists from coming into the country for now in light of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

As for now, the government would only screen passengers and tourists arriving in the country, he said.

“No stopping them. We will check them (tourists), by checking (them) it would enable us to detect (any signs of the virus) at early stage,” he told a press conference after attending the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) Chinese New Year celebration here today.

Earlier today, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad confirmed three of the eight Chinese nationals placed under quarantine in Johor Bahru have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also known as the Wuhan coronavirus.

The three who are now under isolation at Hospital Sungai Buloh, are close relatives of the 66-year-old male Chinese national from Wuhan, who arrived in Singapore on Jan 20 and was confirmed on Jan 23 as Singapore’s first case of an individual who was tested positive for the virus.

The three positive cases in Malaysia comprise of the Singapore patient’s wife, 65, and two male grandchildren of the couple.

On the same note, when asked if the government would review the 15-day visa exemption for tourists from China if the outbreak worsens, Dr Mahathir said the government would not do so at this moment.

“At the moment not yet but we are examining all tourists coming here especially from China,” he said.

Dr. Mahathir said Malaysians must remain vigilant in maintaining hygiene and to wear mask in a crowded areas.

He said it was difficult for a government to prevent the spread of certain outbreaks, especially in today’s world where people and goods can easily move from one country to another.

“So containing an infectious disease is more complicated than before,” he said.