Covid-19: Malaysians advised not to visit S. Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran

People wearing protective face masks are seen before a rehearsal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay in Hamura, outskirts of Tokyo February 15, 2020. — Reuters pic
People wearing protective face masks are seen before a rehearsal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay in Hamura, outskirts of Tokyo February 15, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Malaysians are advised against travelling to South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran that became the latest hotspots for the Covid-19 outbreak, the Health Ministry said today.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah noted that the global monitoring of Covid-19 cases showed that there was a drastic increase of such cases in the past week in the four countries.

“Therefore, the MOH wishes to recommend to Malaysians to defer trips to territories or cities declared as Covid-19 epidemic areas in the People’s Republic of China (as notified previously) and also in South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran,” he said in a statement.

As of this morning at 8am, a total of 81,398 Covid-19 cases including 2,770 deaths have been recorded globally, with only four per cent of these or 3,200 cases involving 52 deaths recorded outside of China, he said.

As for Malaysia’s situation, there were 23 cases Covid-19 up to today but 22 have fully recovered and only one patient was still receiving treatment.

The sole remaining patient is also the latest case reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) today.

This new patient is a 53-year-old Malaysian woman who recently travelled to Japan, and started having a fever on February 24, a day after her return. She was confirmed to be positive for Covid-19 today.

Dr Noor Hisham said 1,569 individuals have been tested for the Covid-19 virus so far, with 1,523 testing negative, 23 testing positive (including the 22 who have since recovered), and 23 still awaiting lab results.

These 1,569 cases are composed of those who are Patient-under-investigation (PUI), close contact cases, those from humanitarian aid missions and the Dream World cruise ship.

Seven prevention tips

Dr Noor Hisham also shared seven preventive measures, especially for those travelling abroad and after their return to Malaysia.

The seven tips including the practice of a high standard of personal hygiene such as frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with hand sanitiser; as well as practising good cough etiquette by using a tissue to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing hands immediately.

While travelling, travellers should also bring along face masks and hand sanitiser to be used when necessary, besides avoiding visits to crowded places and to avoid close contact with infected individuals, he said.

Those travelling should also avoid visiting farms, markets selling live animals, places where animals are slaughtered or touching any animals, with travellers also advised against consuming any animal products that are raw or have not been well-cooked.

He also advised travellers to immediately seek medical treatment if they fall ill with symptoms of Covid-19 infection (such as fever, cough or difficulty in breathing) within 14 days of their return from their travel abroad, and to also inform doctors of their travel history.

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