Safety first approach for M’sians returning home from Wuhan

03 Feb 2020 / 17:18 H.

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians who are scheduled to return home from Wuhan, China early tomorrow morning will go through stringent procedures to eliminate any risk of the novel coronavirus infection spreading here.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pix) said among other things, they would not be allowed to enter the main terminal of KLIA upon arrival and would be ferried by a bus straight to the Air Disaster Unit (ADU) building for decontamination and exit screening.

“The public need not worry as they won’t be entering the terminal at all. Our officers and the Hazardous Materials Unit (Hazmat) of the Fire and Rescue Department will conduct the necessary decontamination and screening,” he told a press conference, here today.

Dzulkefly said those with symptoms of the virus will then be brought to a hospital while the others will be sent to a surveillance centre at an undisclosed location nearby and will be quarantined and monitored for 14 days.

He said only those declared healthy and negative of the coronavirus after the two weeks incubation period would be allowed to return home.

“To ensure the safety of all, family and friends will also not be allowed to visit those who just returned from Wuhan within the 14 days. They can only communicate through mobile,” he added.

In total, 117 Malaysians and 24 non-citizens who are spouses and children registered with the Malaysian embassy would be brought back by an AirAsia flight, that is expected to arrive in KLIA early tomorrow morning.

Dzulkefly reiterated that all on the flight would have had to undergo and pass exit screening processes and procedures conducted by China health authorities at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.

A total of 12 AirAsia crew members, eight government officers and six Malaysian embassy officials are also involved in the mission, of which ALL are required to go through the same precautionary measures as the returning Malaysians.

Dzulkefly said as of noon today, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Malaysia remained at eight.

The minister also expressed optimism that a vaccine to counter the virus could be developed soon after Japan succeeds in cultivating and isolating the virus from a human carrier.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma), at time of print, said it was unable to confirm how long the screening procedures at the airport in Wuhan will take, or the departure/arrival time of the homecoming flight.

It added that the flight, which departed klia2 at 3.50pm for Wuhan today, was furnished with 500,000 pairs of gloves as our contribution to the Chinese government in its battle against the novel coronavirus.

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