THE Government must be more transparent in handling the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) threat in the country, Berita Harian said in its editorial.
It said regular announcements on steps taken to contain the spread of the SARS virus would be a useful guide to the public.
Berita said the Health Ministry must be transparent about the issue.
It said the public had been put under much fear early this year when there were conflicting reports about dengue fever.
Berita said the latest statistics had painted a scenario that Malaysia was surrounded by countries afflicted with SARS, pointing out that there were 92 cases in Singapore with four deaths, six cases with one death in Thailand and 58 cases with four deaths in Vietnam.
Indonesia, on the other hand had also declared SARS as a national threat.
It said so far 59 people had been examined but none had been confirmed to be suffering from SARS.
The people, Berita Harian said, must not be alarmed because the authorities had taken necessary steps to contain the disease.
However, it said, the public must not be complacent about the measures and cases of high fever, coughing and respiratory problem were signals to go to the nearest hospital.
Utusan Malaysia reported that a bus service company which caters to travels between Malaysia and Singapore was ready to stop the service if the SARS situation was bad.
Transnasional Express Sdn Bhd general manager Mohd Azam Omar said the measures were a last resort to ensure the safety of bus drivers and passengers, and prevent the spread of SARS into Malaysia.
He said the company was monitoring the situation closely and there was no need to take drastic action at the moment.
The paper also quoted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Hamid Othman urging the Muslims not to be influenced by the call for jihad by certain groups in and out of the country in view of the war in Iraq.
He said the reminder was necessary to ensure that the Muslims were not confused and take the wrong measures to join the jihad.