PETALING JAYA: The operations room at Wisma Putra will be activated Friday (Jan 31) night in anticipation of the evacuation of Malaysian citizens stranded in the Hubei province, due to the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) outbreak, says a source.
The source also said that Malaysia was still in talks with China to obtain permission to evacuate its citizens who are either working or studying in the affected areas.
“The activation of the ops room in Wisma Putra does not mean that Malaysians in the affected areas will be evacuated right now, but the evacuation can happen any day.
“So we have to be prepared for when the Chinese government gives us the green light, ” said the source.
There are currently about 80 Malaysians reportedly stranded after the Chinese government locked down the affected areas in Hubei province, including Wuhan city, crippling all travel plans.
A few countries have already evacuated their citizens from China.
On Jan 30, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said that the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) had been prepared.
“The Foreign Ministry is ready to bring back 80 Malaysian citizens from Hubei and hope to bring them back as soon as possible, ” he said.
He also said that medical personnel would be flying to China for the evacuation process to monitor the health of Malaysians being brought back.
Saifuddin said that those evacuated may be quarantined for a period of time in Malaysia once they are back to ensure that they are not carriers of the coronavirus.