US professor who returned from Sabah trip praises Malaysia’s effort in fighting Covid-19 pandemic

Jason Hassenstab and wife Margaret wearing face masks at the Lahad Datu airport in Sabah. ¬— Picture via Twitter/Jason Hassenstab
Jason Hassenstab and wife Margaret wearing face masks at the Lahad Datu airport in Sabah. ¬— Picture via Twitter/Jason Hassenstab

PETALING JAYA, March 23 — An associate professor at a university in the United States, who just returned from a trip to Sabah with his family, took to Facebook to praise Malaysia’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jason Hassenstab shared on his Facebook account that he had “returned from an incredible, but poorly timed trip to Malaysia” during the Covid-19 outbreak, but he and his family have arrived safely in the US.

He praised Malaysia’s Covid-19 enforcement that was visible everywhere, even in the remote rainforest where the professor and his family had stayed.

“Messages about social distancing were sent everyday through text messages with words “Stay Home” that were sent frequently to his mobile phone.

“In the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), information banners with written and visual guidance were hung everywhere while staff officers wore masks and provided hand sanitisers at counters.”

However, in comparison to one of the busiest airports in Atlanta, he estimated that only five per cent of customs and border control personnel were wearing masks and gloves.

“Sanitisers were nowhere to be found, except a few that were in bathrooms, while shops were operating as usual with huge crowds of people.

“People were staring at us and shaking their heads because we were wearing masks,” he wrote. 

He added that the usage of masks are important to others, especially if the wearer had an infection and it also prevented them from touching their own face.

Hassenstab also mentioned in his post that his family and him were screened upon returning because they had visited Malaysia and Singapore, but other passengers coming from countries such as Japan, UK, and other EU countries “passed through without further screening or protection measures.”

“We need a clear and consistent message to truly flatten the curve, and we need to model our nationwide response from countries like Malaysia.”

His Facebook post has received over 800 likes, and has been shared over 450 times with people from all backgrounds thanking his honest post, while others were glad that he had returned home to the US safely.

Facebook user, Che Leyda Houz wrote: “ We appreciate your kind feedback, and we do hope that you can share the important precautionary measures and steps that you have learnt in Malaysia to them. Stay safe and take care.”

Lance Burditt, on the other hand said: “Glad all of you made it home safely. I’m sending positive vibes that all will remain healthy. Thank you for sharing this sad, incomprehensible contrast in what you first hand witnessed as compared to what was back home in the US.

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