KUALA LUMPUR: Health authorities here will carry out temperature screening of passengers arriving on flights from Wuhan, China following the recent outbreak of a mysterious respiratory illness there.
The move comes after health authorities in Wuhan confirmed on Tuesday (Dec 31) that 27 people had fallen ill with an unknown strain of viral pneumonia, with the numbers rising to 44 as of Friday (Jan 3).
Of these, 12 are said to be in serious condition.
"We will monitor the international entry points to ensure that arrivals from Wuhan go through temperature screening, and if temperature is detected, a second examination will be carried out at the quarantine centre.
"Those suspected of being infected by the illness would be referred to the nearest medical facility," the Health Ministry's Disease Control Division (DCD) said in a statement issued on Saturday (Jan 4).
State health authorities have been directed to immediately provide the ministry information if a suspected case of pneumonia is detected among those who recently visited Wuhan.
The DCD noted that it had yet to receive any new updates on the outbreak in Wuhan as investigations were still being carried out by the health authorities in China.
"The World Health Organisation is closely monitoring this event and will share more details in due course," the statement added.
Singapore and Vietnam are also carrying out temperature screening on passengers arriving from Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province.
In a statement issued on their website on Friday (Jan 3), health officials from Wuhan have ruled out common respiratory diseases such as influenza, bird flu and adenovirus infections as the cause of the current pneumonia illness.
According to a news report from China, the outbreak was traced to vendors selling pheasants and snakes at a market in Wuhan.
The emergence of the mysterious illness has triggered fears in China of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which spread to Hong Kong between 2002 to 2003.
SARS, which emerged in southern China, rapidly spread to several cities and countries in 2003, infecting more than 8,000 people with 775 fatalities.