‘Holidays cause for concern’


KUALA LUMPUR: Public health experts have cautioned the spread of the Wuhan virus can accelerate with the increase in movement of people this Chinese New Year.

They say the holidays will have a multiplier effect that will go beyond the SARS virus, which also originated from China.

Malaysian Public Health Medicine Specialist Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar warned the serious disease will impact the country.

“From China, it has spread to several countries. Our country will definitely not be spared, ” he told The Star.

He said the government should be vigilant and not take lightly the screening at entry points into the country.

“If there is a need to quarantine someone suspected of the disease, it must be done, ” he said.

Galen Centre for Health and Social policy founder Azrul Mohd Khalib said the experience with SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome virus, was a good reference to look back at in the efforts to deal with the Wuhan virus.

“Everybody is worried because of Chinese New Year. It’s not possible to do a massive containment exercise, ” he said.

For now, Azrul said, the country has to look at public health measures including screenings at entry points.

“Essentially what we are looking at is preventive measures, restorative or rehabilitative treatment that can be provided for those who are sick, ” he said.

Besides taking care of personal hygiene, Azrul also encouraged people to get vaccinated against the existing influenza virus.

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