Be alert for possible early signs of coronavirus if you have been to China, Sarawakians warned

A Malaysian health quarantine officer distributes leaflets about the Wuhan Pneumonia to passengers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang January 21, 2020. — Reuters pic
A Malaysian health quarantine officer distributes leaflets about the Wuhan Pneumonia to passengers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang January 21, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUCHING, Jan 26 — Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian today advised Sarawakians who have been to China recently to be on high alert for possible early signs of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

He said a person, who have been infected with the virus, will not show symptoms in the first seven days as the incubation period is between seven and 14 days.

“That means even if you are infected within the 14 days, you will still spread the disease to other people,” Dr Sim told reporters at his Chinese New Year open house.

He was asked to comment on the world-wide coronavirus scare, originating from Wuhan, China.

“The important thing is that those who have been to China in the last 14 days, they need to be vigilant and I suggest that they self-quarantine within the 14 days to avoid spreading the virus to other people.

“During this period, if they have a cough or fever, then they should go straight to the hospital before it develops into pneumonia,” he said.

“Since it's a new virus, nobody knows much about it and that is why there is no cure for it so far,” he said.

Sim said medical and health experts at this stage are more concerned about the spread of the virus than finding the cause at the moment.

“Speaking as a medical doctor specialist, I am more worried about the Wuhan virus or coronavirus than influenza because it (Wuhan virus) is from the same SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) family.

Dr Sim said influenza is “mickey mouse”  compared to the Wuhan virus.

“The other virus that causes the same kind of damage is MERS (Middle Respiratory Syndrome,” he said.

He said one thing the health authorities in Sarawak and Malaysia must take is to enforce strict checks at the entry points, especially for those who have been to China, to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus.

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