The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) urges the Ministry of Health (MOH) to take all necessary measures to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country; including Covid-19 testing of travelers from China when Malaysia opens its borders to the country this 8th January.
Even if the dominant Covid-19 variants in China have already been detected in Malaysia, all precautions should be taken to prevent a surge.
For now, as China is experiencing a rise in cases of Covid-19, apart from current preventive measures, the government of Malaysia should make it a requirement that only fully vaccinated travellers from China with a negative RT-PCR test result be allowed entry into Malaysia and upon arrival at the entry point or within 24 hours, undergo professional RTK Antigen screening for Covid-19.
The same should also be done for travellers from other countries experiencing a significant rise in cases of Covid-19.
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 of manpower in our public health care facilities, the health care system can still be overwhelmed if cases requiring hospitalisation and ICU (intensive care unit) admission start to surge.
Perhaps, 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 numbers of travellers expected from China, but it must be ensured that public health and safety remain our highest priority.
We take note of concerns among the public over the move to allow travellers from China into the country at this time and wish to remind the public that Covid-19 has been in the country for 3 years and 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 face masks when in crowded enclosed spaces. Also, adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle as it strengthens your defence against infectious diseases.
Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai is the president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.