Malaysia ‘free from SARS’


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 01 Apr 2003

BY AUDREY EDWARDS, MAZNI MUSTAFA and CHRISTINA KOH

Latest: Eight warded for observation  

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is free from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) with no reported deaths or suspected cases, said Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohamad Taha Arif.  

“There have been no SARS cases, no suspected SARS cases or deaths caused by SARS. 

“So far, we have had 41 notifications to our operations centre from March 18 until yesterday (Sunday),” he said, adding that all of them were free from SARS. 

Dr Mohamad Taha said his ministry had alerted doctors and hospitals to notify the ministry of any flu or fever cases. 

He said the ministry had checked all the notifications – which included those who fell sick after visiting China, Hong Kong and Singapore. 

He clarified as untrue a local report which stated that a 45-year-old woman had been quarantined for suspected SARS. 

“She died of a heart problem and was not even on our list,” he said. 

Dr Mohamad Taha said the ministry had been on the alert ever since the first case of SARS was reported abroad and would continue to disseminate information on the killer disease. 

“We want the public to be aware about it (SARS),” he added. 

Dr Mohamad Taha said there was no need for the people to wear face masks like their counterparts in Singapore or Hong Kong. 

“Only if they are dealing with pneumonia, cold and flu cases, then we will ask them to wear masks to protect themselves,” he added. 

In Ipoh, the Ipoh Hospital has taken precautionary measures by admitting four people for observation.  

A spokesman of the state Health Department said the patients, all males, had complained of suffering from flu, fever and also showed signs of having lung infection. 

He said, however, that their admission should not be deemed that SARS cases had been detected in Perak. 

“We urge the public not to be unduly worried as we decided to admit them as a precautionary measure over the SARS alert. 

One of the patients, a man in his 70s, was initially admitted to the Teluk Intan Hospital on March 24 after he returned from a tour of Guangdong province in China a few days earlier. 

He was transferred to the Ipoh Hospital on Sunday. 

The second patient was a man from Ipoh who had gone on a tour to Hong Kong and the other two patients, a father and his son, were admitted to the Ipoh Hospital yesterday after they returned home from Singapore. 

State Health Department director Dr Abdul Razak Kechik said all hospitals and government clinics throughout the state had been put on alert for SARS. 

Meanwhile, state Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ho Cheng Wang advised the people, especially the Chinese, to be extra careful as a number of family members had returned from Singapore for the Qing Ming festival. 

“For their own safety, we hope they could remind their family members in Singapore to do the necessary tests before returning home,” he added. 

He said people should avoid travelling to Singapore and other countries which recorded high number of SARS cases, such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for the time being.  

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World Health Organization SARS site

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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