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No plans to bar all Chinese nationals, only those from Wuhan, Hubei province - Muhyiddin

04/02/2020 07:42 PM

JOHOR BAHRU, Feb 4 -- The government is not planning to bar all Chinese nationals from visiting Malaysia, as there is no need for such action, so far.

The recently-instituted ban only applies to those from Hubei province, including the city of Wuhan where the 2019 novel coronavirus was first detected in December last year, said Home Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today.

He explained that the Immigration Department continuously looked to the Health Ministry's decisions for guidance concerning the coronavirus situation in the country.

"Only when the Health Ministry states that we need to control, we will use the Immigration Act to implement a ban as we have done (in reference to Chinese nationals from Hubei province, including Wuhan city)," he said, adding that the ban was still in place and if there was new guidance from the Health Ministry, action would then be taken. 

Muhyiddin said this after observing the health screening undertaken at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar here.

The minister was commenting in reference to concerns expressed by various parties in reference to the government's decision to only bar Chinese nationals from Hubei province, including Wuhan city, and not all Chinese nationals.

Muhyiddin also said that the World Health Organization (WHO) had not asked for a total ban on the entry of Chinese nationals into individual countries, although the world body had declared the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The minister said his team was ready to act if the need arose and was constantly monitoring entry points in Malaysia as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He added that from Jan 27 until yesterday (Feb 3), a total of 147 Chinese nationals, all of them from Wuhan or other parts of Hubei province, had been barred from entering the country. Of this number, the biggest group of visitors which attempted entry, totalled 65 people in Port Klang, comprising seamen and other ship employees.

Asked if thermal scanners currently in place at the CIQ complex were sufficient in number, he said there was a need for more in view of the fact that 70 per cent of visitors to Malaysia, access the country through this entry point.

Meanwhile, asked whether the Chingay festival scheduled to held here on Feb 14 should be cancelled, Muhyiddin replied there was no need for such action.

-- BERNAMA


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