KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — Putrajaya has imposed a complete travel ban on all Italians, Iranians, South Koreans, and foreigners entering Malaysia from those three countries that are Covid-19 hotspots.
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said the decision, which comes into effect on March 13, also affects other points of entry in the country and was reached by Cabinet today.
On the other hand, all Malaysians and long-term pass holders from Italy, Iran, and South Korea, will be subjected to self-quarantine at their respective homes for 14 days, he said in a series of Facebook posts.
He added that the existing travel ban on three Chinese districts — Hubei, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu — as well as Hokkaido in Japan, remains.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has worsened in all five countries, with Italy recording over 10,000 cases and 631 deaths, Iran over 8,000 cases and 291 deaths, and South Korea more than 7,700 cases and 288 deaths.
China, the centre of the outbreak, has over 80,000 cases and 3,000 deaths, while Japan has seen close to 500 infected, most of which were in Hokkaido.
Meanwhile, in Malaysia, 20 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the country as of noon today, bringing the total number of cases to 149.
In a statement, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said close contract tracing is ongoing, and will be carried out until the source of the outbreak can be determined.
The 149 patients consist of 22 cases among patients-under-investigation for Covid-19, 124 close contact cases, one patient with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), and two from humanitarian return missions from China.
Dr Noor Hisham said two cases are currently in intensive care and require breathing aid but are in stable condition. They are being treated at Sungai Buloh Hospital and Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor, respectively.
The patient with SARI, he added, is the only one among 600 SARI and influenza-like-illness samples that were tested for Covid-19 and were positive. Efforts are underway to find out the source of the patient’s Covid-19 strain.
“KKM (Ministry of Health) also wishes to state that all 66 Malaysians and (their) family members that were brought back from Wuhan, China, through a humanitarian aid mission on February 26, 2020, have been allowed to return to their respective homes,” he said.
This is because none of them were symptomatic and repeat tests gave negative results for Covid-19.
Dr Noor Hisham, meanwhile, said that Patient 78 has recovered from Covid-19, and promptly discharged from hospital. This brings the number of recovered Covid-19 cases in Malaysia to 26.
On a recent Covid-19 case in neighbouring Brunei that was reported as attending a gathering at the Seri Petaling mosque in Selangor, Dr Noor Hisham said some 10,000 from various nationalities had attended, at least half of which were Malaysians.
“All state Health departments are currently carrying out further investigations on this matter in their respective states,” he said, adding that those who were at the function and manifest Covid-19 symptoms should contact the nearest district health office.