Govt suspends visa for tourists from Wuhan, Hubei Province


MALAYSIA did not record any tourist arrivals from Wuhan, China, since Jan 23, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

He said on the same day, the Chinese authorities imposed a lock down on Wuhan to prevent residents from leaving the city in the wake of the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus there.

“As for tourist arrivals from China to Malaysia before Jan 23, the Health Ministry will work with the Immigration Department to get the information,” he told a press conference after making a working visit to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2 in Sepang yesterday.

Dr Dzulkefly also confirmed that the number of positive Wuhan coronavirus cases in Malaysia stood at four, while pending cases — those awaiting results of laboratory tests — numbered five; all involving Chinese nationals.

Of the five, two are in Langkawi, two in KL and the latest in Bintulu, Sarawak, he said.

He added that the coronavirus cases detected in Malaysia were based on two categories, the first involving those who had contact with patients who tested positive (contact tracing).

The first three positive cases in Malaysia were detected through contact tracing. They are the wife and two grandsons of a 66-yearold Chinese national from Wuhan who is receiving treatment in Singapore.

They had entered Malaysia via Johor.

“The second category, are those showing symptoms and are suspected to be infected by the coronavirus.

“Cumulative cases for this (second) category so far are 38, with one of them being positive, 32 negative and five awaiting lab results,” said Dr Dzulkefly.

As for statistics, he said as of 3pm on Sunday, 164,692 travellers arrived at the country’s entry points and were screened .

Of the total, he said nine were referred for further screening.

“However, none of them met the criteria for Patient Under Investigation for coronavirus, as prescribed in the protocols for containing the virus,” he added.

Dr Dzulkefly said all incoming travellers were supplied health warning cards, whereby if they displayed any symptoms, they are to seek treatment at the nearest health facility.

Dubbed the Wuhan virus, the media reported that as of Sunday, the outbreak has claimed 81 (at press time) lives and more than 2,700 cases have been confirmed in mainland China. The coronavirus is spreading throughout Asia and the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, the government has taken the decision to temporarily suspend all immigration facilities to Chinese citizens from Wuhan and Hubei Province with immediate effect.

The Prime Minister’s Office in a statement said the facilities encompass the electronic travel registration and information facility, visa on arrival, e-visa and manual visa.

The decision was made after taking into consideration the latest situation on the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China, specifically in Hubei Province, it said.

These immigration facilities will be reinstated once the situation returns to normal, the statement added.

According to the statement, the Foreign Ministry will coordinate implementation of the decision with its Chinese counterpart.

Following the spread of the coronavirus in China last week, the Malaysian government followed the procedures stipulated by the World Health Organisation to face the outbreak, added the statement.

The government has also obtained the advice of experts to face and prevent the outbreak from spreading far and wide.

The government also reminded all parties not to spread unverified or fake news on the outbreak as this can cause alarm among the public. — Bernama