JOHOR BARU: Eight people having symptoms similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) have been warded for examination and laboratory tests.
Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Taha Arif said that ex-cept for one patient who was being treated at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital here, the others were in the Klang Valley.
“I must stress here that they have been warded for further observation.
“Yes, they showed symptoms like high fever and flu but this cannot be regarded as SARS until tests conducted on them confirm that,” he said after accompanying Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng who was on a visit to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital to check on its readiness to treat SARS patients if any.
Dr Taha said the public should not be unduly alarmed since the eight had only been warded for observation.
“If there is a SARS case, we will not hide it from the public. Besides the Health Minister, any information on SARS should only come from my deputy or me.
“I will provide any update when necessary to avoid confusion and rumour-mongering,” he said.
Earlier, Chua advised Malaysians working in Singapore to take leave as a precautionary measure.
He said those planning to travel to the republic should postpone their journey.
“However, if these are not possible, it is then my duty to remind them that they are undertaking a great risk in going there,” said Chua.
More than 50,000 Malaysians travel to Singapore daily through the Causeway and the Second Link Bridge near Gelang Patah.
Chua said the Health Department had set up SARS inspection booths at Immigration counters at both links.
Chua said four ministries – Transport, Education, Human Resources and Information – had been roped in to ensure the effectiveness of SARS preventive and control efforts.
He said the Transport Ministry would be asked to ensure that the World Health Organisation’s recommendations on travellers from SARS infected areas were strictly observed.
“The Education Ministry will help us in asking teachers to immediately refer their pupils with SARS symptoms like high fever and cough to the nearest hospitals.
“The assistance of the Department of Safety and Health of the Human Resources Ministry will be in the form of ensuring that employers, including factories, conduct SARS awareness activities,” he said.
Chua said the Information Ministry would provide public announcements through the electronic and print media.