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28 Jan 2020 | 12:55 AM UTC

Malaysia: Government temporarily suspends all immigration services for Chinese nationals January 27 /update 1

The Office of the Prime Minister announces the temporary suspension of all immigration services for Chinese nationals as of January 27, due to the coronavirus outbreak; further spread of the disease possible in the near term

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MYS

Event

The Office of the Prime Minister announced on Monday, January 27, that the government has temporarily suspended all immigration facilities including eNTRI, visa on arrival, e-visas, and manual visas for Chinese nationals from Wuhan and Hubei province due to the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-cNoV). It did not say when the services would resume.

On Saturday, January 25, officials in Malaysia announced that three Chinese nationals had tested positive for 2019-nCoV, which originated in Wuhan (Hubei province, China) in December 2019. The infected individuals had traveled from Singapore to Malaysia. According to media reports, they are related to a 66-year-old man and his son who had tested positive for the virus in Singapore. These are Malaysia's first confirmed cases of the virus.

On Friday, January 24, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased their health alert to Level 3, warning individuals to avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan. In particular, CDC officials warned that the virus poses an increased threat to older adults with underlying health conditions.

Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term.

Context

At least 4598 cases of 2019-nCoV have been confirmed worldwide as of January 28, along with 106 associated fatalities. The first case of 2019-nCOV was reported on December 31. Authorities are still investigating the primary source of the outbreak, but the first cases were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have also been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia. 

Advice

Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

• Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold

• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)

• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask

• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly

• Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments

• Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease