Postpone non-essential travel to China in light of coronavirus outbreak, advises Dzulkefly

A family wears face masks at the arrival hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport January 24, 2020. —  Bernama pic
A family wears face masks at the arrival hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport January 24, 2020. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 25 — Malaysians are advised to defer all non-essential travel to China in the light of the coronavirus outbreak, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad.

However, if it essential to go to China, he advised travellers to take the necessary preventive measures when they are in that country as well as after returning home.

“During the visit (to China), always bring along face masks and hand sanitiser for use when necessary and avoid visiting animal farms or going to markets that sell live animals and slaughter houses or touch any animal.

“They should also avoid eating raw or not well-cooked meat,” he told a press conference here today.

Dr Dzulkefly said those visiting China should refrain from going to crowded places and avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of the disease.

He also advised them to seek immediate medical treatment if they fall sick and experience symptoms of respiratory tract infections, such as fever, cough or breathing difficulties within 14 days upon their return from the trip.

Meanwhile, Dzulkefly said Malaysia would intensify its level of preparedness by carrying out rigorous monitoring and screening at all entry points to the country.

“So far the situation is under control,” he said.

Earlier, he confirmed three of the eight Chinese nationals placed under quarantine in Johor Baru had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also known as the Wuhan coronavirus.

The three who are now under isolation at the Sungai Buloh Hospital, are close relatives of the 66-year-old male Chinese national from Wuhan, who arrived in Singapore on January 20 and was confirmed on January 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.

Dzulkefly said the ministry had also activated its Rapid Response Team and Rapid Assessment Team to carry out contact-tracing activities on the ground.

“All healthcare personnel have been reminded to pay close attention to the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and to adopt optimum infection control and prevention measures at all times,” he added.

He also urged patient screenings at all health facilities to be carried out thoroughly to ensure suspected cases were referred to. — Bernama

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