75 more Malaysians to come home

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will be sending another plane to Wuhan to evacuate its citizens from the coronavirus-stricken city on Feb 25.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said about 75 Malaysians as well as their spouses and children will be brought back on a special AirAsia flight.

“The Foreign Ministry and the National Anti-Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) are arranging this flight. This is the second evacuation mission that will be managed similarly to the first mission on Feb 4.

“As soon as they land in KLIA, the passengers will be taken to the Air Disaster Unit building where they will be screened.

“After that, they will be sent to the Higher Education Leadership Academy in Negri Sembilan to be quarantined for 14 days, ” said Dr Wan Azizah at a press conference here after chairing a high-level committee meeting on Covid-19.

On Feb 4, Malaysia flew 107 passengers from Wuhan back home, and all of them were allowed home after serving the 14-day quarantine on Feb 18 while returning negative results for Covid-19.

Dr Wan Azizah said there has been no increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, with the number remaining at 22, with 17 of them already discharged, while five remain warded.

Meanwhile, the 83-year-old American cruise ship passenger who tested positive for Covid-19 in Malaysia has recovered, said Dr Wan Azizah.

“Her tests showed she is negative. However, she is still kept in hospital because she is not that well and still has symptoms.

“Once she is cleared of the symptoms, she will be discharged.”

The woman was among 145 passengers of the MS Westerdam cruise liner who were flown to Kuala Lumpur on a special chartered flight arranged by the ship’s owners.

She was the only passenger to be diagnosed with the virus.

Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah said Malaysia will not ban visitors from China for now as there is no necessity to do so.

“However, we will strengthen our checks on people arriving in Malaysia from China, ” she said.

Recently, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the Cabinet had discussed whether Malaysia would issue a blanket ban on visitors from China.

He said the decision lies with Dr Wan Azizah as the Nadma chair.

So far, Malaysia has only imposed travel restrictions for China nationals from the Hubei, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

Wuhan city, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, is in the Hubei province.

Flights to and from Wuhan have also been temporarily halted.

Dr Wan Azizah said those arriving from China will also be given throat swab tests, on top of thermal screening at all entry points.

“Individuals who are found to be Covid-19 positive will be admitted to hospitals, while those who tested negative must undergo the ‘home surveillance’ programme that is set according to the Health Ministry’s guidelines, ” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah added that students from China who have been in Malaysia for less than 14 days will have to undergo health screenings arranged by their universities.

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