A Strong, Calm And Sensible Response To The Coronavirus Outbreak — Dr Khor Swee Kheng Et Al

By CodeBlue | 28 January 2020

Malaysia has strong and proven capabilities to handle outbreaks.

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As Malaysia’s health professionals, we urge a strong, calm and sensible response to the ongoing novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.

We stand in strong support and partnership with the Health Ministry, and we have the highest trust and confidence in their efforts to protect the health of all Malaysians. We urge the rakyat, politicians, the media and all stakeholders to act responsibly during this period.

We understand the concerns of the rakyat, who want to protect themselves and their families from nCoV. The best way is to remain calm, to trust official sources of information, and to practice the precautions advised by the Health Ministry. It is illegal to spread false rumours or news, and wrong to politicise the situation or harm our social harmony.

Malaysia has strong and proven capabilities to handle outbreaks, and these capabilities are commended by the World Health Organization. We ranked #18 in the world in the Global Health Security Index compiled by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, higher than Singapore and South Korea.

A study in the British Medical Journal assessed Malaysia as the Most Prepared country for health security. Our health system is strong, safe and world-leading.

Malaysian health professionals successfully protected Malaysia from Nipah in 1998, SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009 and MERS in 2014. In non-outbreak periods, we work every day to reduce dengue, tuberculosis and HIV, which are equally important diseases. Our competent and experienced health professionals will lead Malaysia’s outbreak response.

Unfortunately, some Malaysians have acted irresponsibly. False rumours and news are circulating on social media. Our Yang Di-Pertuan Agong has instructed the rakyat to stop spreading rumours and controversies, and to remain calm.

As the situation develops, new measures will be taken. The temporary travel restriction on Chinese citizens from Wuhan city and Hubei Province has been just announced. It is only one tool to manage an outbreak.

Therefore, we ask the rakyat, politicians, the media and all stakeholders to act responsibly. We must remain calm, practice recommended hygiene and precautionary measures, seek medical attention if we feel unwell and restrict our own domestic and international travel.

We urge you to get information only from trusted and reliable sources, specifically the official channels of the Health Ministry. We urge you to be responsible on social media. Spreading false rumours or news is illegal and will distract the Health Ministry from important public health responses.

During this period, we appreciate the courage, sacrifice and professionalism of all our front-line doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical assistants, public health specialists, epidemiologists and scientists. Thank you for your service. Together with the Health Ministry, we must keep them safe and healthy as they keep Malaysians safe and healthy.

We must fight this outbreak together as ONE COUNTRY and keep our unity and social harmony. As your health professionals, we trust the Health Ministry to lead us safely.

We are confident in our fellow health professionals and our health system, and we must all play our part to protect all Malaysians.

  1. Dr Khor Swee Kheng
  2. Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood
  3. Prof Dato’ Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman (Dean of Medicine, Universiti Malaya)
  4. Prof Dr Raja Affendi Raja Ali (Dean of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia)
  5. Dato’ Dr Zainal Ariffin Bin Omar (President, Public Health Association of Malaysia)
  6. Prof Dr Rosmawati Mohamed (Master, Academy of Medicine Malaysia)
  7. Dr Jeffrey Abu Hassan (President, Islamic Medical Association Malaysia (IMAM)
  8. Dr N Ganabaskaran (President, Malaysian Medical Association)
  9. Dr Abdul Halim Shibghatullah (Chairman, IKRAM Health Malaysia)
  10. A/Prof Dr Mohammad Husni Jamal (President, Academy of Family Physicians Malaysia)
  11. Amrahi Buang (President, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society)
  12. Dr Ahmad Firdaus Mohd Haris (President, Medical Mythbusters Malaysia)
  13. Haji Mustafa Abd Majid (President, Malaysian Association of Medical Assistants)
  14. Pn Sharipah Asiah Syed Junid Aljunid (President, Malaysian Nurses Association)
  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.
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