DPM: Travel ban extended to other Chinese provinces under lockdown following coronavirus outbreak

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Malaysia’s border security will also be tightened by adding more thermal scanners and laboratory facilities to quicken test samples results. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Malaysia’s border security will also be tightened by adding more thermal scanners and laboratory facilities to quicken test samples results. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — The temporary travel ban on Chinese nationals arriving from Hubei province and the city of Wuhan will be extended to all other provinces placed under lockdown by the Chinese government in the wake of the 2019 novel coronavirus infection.

“The Immigration Department will also from now impose a travel ban on a province as soon as the Chinese government declares it under lockdown,” Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said in a statement yesterday night.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) chairman, said Malaysia’s border security will also be tightened by adding more thermal scanners and laboratory facilities to quicken test samples results.

Besides government hospitals, she said the Health Ministry will provide additional 2019-nCOV diagnostic testing facilities, including roping the services of private health laboratories, to complement the existing 18, comprising the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK), four state public health laboratories and 12 hospital laboratories nationwide.

Dr Wan Azizah, who chaired a special meeting on the coronavirus infection in Putrajaya this evening, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also making arrangements for the urgent return of 212 embassy/consulate general offices non-essential staff in China.

On arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), she said they would be taken to a health checkpoint to undergo screening including clinical sampling.

“Those with symptoms will immediately be taken to the hospital while those without will be allowed to return home and put under home surveillance for up to 14 days.

“They are required to immediately report to a nearby clinic or hospital if they have symptoms such as cough, cold, fever, shortness of breath or other health problems,” she said.

She said as at 8pm yesterday 10 people (two families) who are non-essential staff from Guangzhou arrived at KLIA and were taken to a health checkpoint to undergo medical screening.

She said they were allowed to return home and placed under home surveillance.

Dr Wan Azizah said the government was prepared to assist the 34 Malaysians in Wuhan who could not return to the country with the 107 who were brought home on February 4.

She said at present, they cannot leave the Hubei province following the travel ban imposed by the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah said programmes and official activities in public places can still be held unless the organisers cancel them.

To date, 27,636 coronavirus cases have been recorded across the globe with 564 deaths.

In Malaysia, 14 cases have been tested positive. — Bernama

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