KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — A representative from the World Health Organisation (WHO) today commended Malaysian authorities for its open and informative management of the Wuhan virus outbreak since it spread from Chinese to 28 other countries.
Dr Ying-Ru Lo said that Malaysia is doing “very, very well”, and has been very transparent with its information on infection cases, which are easily accessible through the Health Ministry’s website.
The head of mission and WHO representative to Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei also praised Malaysia for its “courageous” way in dealing with travel restrictions.
“Well we have been sharing information very closely with the authorities in Malaysia, and the Malaysian authorities with WHO, and I think Malaysia is doing very, very well. They are very open, very transparent.
“All the information about the case investigation, results of the case investigation, is available immediately on the Ministry of Health’s website.
“They also post new information, very accurate information which is validated on their social media. They also are in close contact with the authorities of Singapore and the neighbouring countries. So we are impressed about the quality of the work,” Dr Lo said in an interview with national broadcaster BernamaTV that was also aired live on the internet this afternoon.
Dr Lo is an infectious diseases physician based in Germany who joined WHO in 1998.
Her expertise includes translating research into implementation and leading the implementation of HIV treatment in Asia, in the early 1990s.
Dr Lo also weighed in on WHO’s stand to not call for travel restrictions. Despite a worldwide fear of the novel coronavirus officially named 2019-nCoV but better known as the Wuhan virus for the city where it originated, she explained that such a move would result in more social disruption.
“Although travel restrictions seem intuitively to be the right thing to do, this is not something WHO usually recommends, and this is because there is a lot of social disruption and it’s very resource intensive,” she said, adding that for some countries, the cost brought about by such a move is very high.
Dr Lo said that a much better alternative would be to focus on responsive measures such as health screening at all exit and entry points at airports and other routes.
Malaysia currently has some 10 cases of the Wuhan virus. Three of the infected are Malaysians who are currently being treated in local public hospitals in isolation wards.
Local health authorities have also discharged a four-year-old girl from China who was visiting Langkawi after pronouncing her fully recovered from the virus last night and allowed her to return home.