Putrajaya rushes funds for heat scanners as Wuhan virus risks persist

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad (centre) at one of the thermal screening point located at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang January 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad (centre) at one of the thermal screening point located at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang January 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — The Finance Ministry has expedited funding for 12 additional thermal scanners that Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said were needed to help monitor for a possible outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng agreed with Dzulkefly’s assessment that the devices were essential to detect arriving visitors who may be carrying the novel coronavirus that has already caused over 100 deaths in China.

“Seeing that the request is related to critical efforts to safeguard public health, I have asked the secretary-general of the Treasury Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir to provide every cooperation for this allocation to be channelled as soon as possible,” Lim said in a statement today.

Lim added that his ministry was giving its full support to the Health Ministry in order to ensure that public health agencies were equipped to perform their duties to international standards.

The Health Ministry is already conducting thermal scanning at all of the country’s major entry points.

This morning, Chinese health officials confirmed that there were now over 4,500 new cases of 2019-nCoV infections with 106 recorded deaths.

Malaysia is among countries that have registered confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with four reported so far.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office said the government was suspending all visa facilities for travellers originating from China’s Hubei province that is believed to be the centre of the epidemic there.

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