MMA: “Travellers from China should be tested for COVID-19 before entry to M’sia”

THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the Health Ministry (MOH) to take all necessary measures to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

This include testing all travellers from China for the coronavirus when Malaysia opens its borders to the country on Jan 8, 2023.

“Even if the dominant COVID-19 variants in China have already been detected in the country, all precautions should be taken to prevent a surge,” said MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai.

He said for now, as China is experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases, the Malaysian government should – in addition to current preventive measures – make it a requirement that only fully-vaccinated travellers from China with a negative RT-PCR test result be allowed entry into the country.

“Upon arrival at the entry point or within 24 hours, these travellers from China should also undergo professional RTK-Antigen screening for [the virus]. The same should also be done for travellers from other countries experiencing a significant rise in COVID-19 cases,” he added.

“Although precautionary measures are being taken by MOH to prepare for the possibility of a surge, we feel more needs to be done to prevent imported cases of COVID-19.

“We are concerned that with the shortages in manpower at our public healthcare facilities, the healthcare system can still be overwhelmed if cases requiring hospitalisation and ICU admission start to surge.”

Dr Muruga also suggested that as an additional precaution, the Government can “look at a gradual opening to visitors from China and relax restrictions when the COVID-19 situation there improves significantly”.

“We acknowledge that Malaysia will definitely stand to benefit economically from tourism with the high number of travellers expected from China, but it must be ensured that public health and safety remain our highest priority,” he noted.

Don’t fear, take precautions

While there are concerns over the move to allow travellers from China into the country during this period of time, Dr Muruga reminded the public that COVID-19 has been in the country for the past three years and that “we have much better control over it now”.

“What is important is that we take all available preventive measures against COVID-19 and that is to go for your booster shot when it is due and wear facemasks when in crowded enclosed spaces,” he remarked.

“Also, adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle as it strengthens your defence against infectious diseases.” – Jan 4, 2023


Main pic credit: Reuters

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