DPM: Travel ban extended to two other China provinces over coronavirus concerns

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks  during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur February 9, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur February 9, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — Malaysia will restrict admission of Chinese nationals arriving from the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu with immediate effect, following their lockdown by the Chinese government due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said this was an extension of the government’s decision on January 27 which saw travel restrictions imposed on travellers from the province of Hubei, where the outbreak’s epicentre in the city of Wuhan is situated.

“The original restrictions involved 16 cities in Hubei, and with the extension now involves five cities in Zhejiang, and two in Jiangsu,” she said after a Chinese New Year open house jointly organised by the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association and the Islamic Development Department at Quill City Mall.

Dr Wan Azizah added that the Immigration Department has also been requested to further tighten the restrictions by imposing conditions on all visitors to Malaysia, regardless of nationality, who have visited any of the three provinces in China within the last 14 days.

“The Home Ministry, Immigration Department, and other agencies at the Sultan Iskandar Building and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex in Johor Bahru have been asked to increase their monitoring and control upon the crowds who enter through their gates.

“As the situation still remains under control, there is no further need to impose the restrictions going to and coming from the rest of China, with the exceptions of the aforementioned provinces and cities,” she said.

Over 30 million people residing in Zhejiang have been affected by the lockdown directive. Public travel is highly restricted, with only one person for every household permitted to leave and buy supplies from supermarkets while holding a special government-issued ticket permitting them to do so.

The pandemic has thus far claimed over 800 lives, with 89 deaths recorded in Hubei province alone yesterday. An estimated 27,100 infection cases have been recorded in the province, with worldwide numbers standing at over 37,000. 

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