Ministry summons two ship officers

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 13 Apr 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has summoned two senior officers from Star Cruises to query them on the two crew members who contracted the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican said yesterday the ministry had given the two officers “a talk” but declined to elaborate. 

He also declined to comment whether the crew had followed procedures but said an announcement on this would be made tomorrow.  

Asked why the cruise ship was allowed to leave Singapore and continue on the remaining leg of its journey, he said: 

“I don’t want to comment on this. We have a lot of concerns and issues which we have raised with the relevant parties. Enough said,” he told the daily press briefing on the SARS situation at his ministry. 

To a question on whether screening measures at Malaysian ports were in place, Dr Ismail said the ministry had been told the authorities had taken all the necessary precautions. 

“And making sure that nobody disembarks or gets in. That is what they say,” he said. 

Two Star Cruises crew members, who are Indian nationals, had been admitted to hospitals - one in Malaysia as a probable case and another in Singapore for suspected SARS - on April 7 and 9 respectively. 

The 26-year old woman is in Langkawi Hospital. 

Dr Ismail said 17 people were being held under quarantine in the ship including the doctor who treated the probable SARS patient in Singapore. 

Four are healthcare staff and 13 are workmen who had come into contact with the woman. 

On the 26-year old tour agency manager in Penang, Dr Ismail said the list of those under home quarantine had risen to 57. 

He said they included family members, medical staff who had come into contact with him and the tour agency staff. 

“Whoever has had contact with this gentleman will not be allowed to come to work,” he said. 

On Friday, Malaysia recorded 47 suspected SARS cases and 156 notifications overall. 

Of the 24 who were warded, eight were in Kedah, five in Perak, four in Selangor, three in Kuala Lumpur and one each in Penang, Johor, Terengganu and Perlis. 

South Africa is the latest country to report SARS cases.  

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