KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has prohibited its staff, including nearly 189,000 health care workers, from travelling abroad, unless on urgent business, due to the novel coronavirus.
MOH also banned its staff from visiting China, where Covid-19 originated from, as well as new coronavirus hotspots South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran, until conditions improve and the ministry issues its next instruction.
“If there is a need, YBhg. Datuk/ Dato’ Indera/ Dato’/ Sir/ Madam can consider rejecting staff’s leave applications,” MOH secretary-general Dr Chen Chaw Min said in a letter dated March 5 to the ministry’s divisions, institutes, and state health departments in Malaysia, as sighted by CodeBlue.
“The rise of Covid-19 infections will impact public health and can disrupt continuous health service delivery to the public,” he added.
MOH health care workers alone, excluding officials and administrative staff, numbered at 188,704 as of December 31, 2018, according to the ministry’s Health Facts 2019. They comprise 43,052 doctors, 65,153 nurses, 23,136 community nurses, 7,988 pharmacists, and 5,768 dentists, among others.
The number of Covid-19 cases worldwide has reportedly risen to almost 100,000, with over 3,000 deaths.
Malaysia has confirmed 55 coronavirus cases as of yesterday, with zero fatalities, out of which 22 have recovered. The 55 cases include a second cluster linked to Patient 26, UDA Holdings chairman Hisham Hamdan, who today denied that he was patient zero in the new cluster.