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Malaysia reactivates health screening for China visitors

Malaysia has reactivated thermal screening for visitors from China due to the outbreak of new cases…

Malaysia has reactivated thermal screening for visitors from China due to the outbreak of new cases of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

The move was taken last Friday following the reports of two confirmed SARS cases in Beijing and six suspected cases.

Visitors from Beijing will now be screened on arrival in Malaysia while those from Guangzhou and Shanghai, and Hong Kong will be required to declare their health status through health declaration cards distributed during flights.

The Health Ministry has also mobilised its SARS operations room with the hotline number +603-2698 9436, and re-opened SARS designated gates at entry points in airports and ports.

The heads of all the 21 SARS designated hospitals nationwide have also be told to be on standby for suspected SARS cases in view of daily tourists inflow from China, including from the SARS affected areas in Beijing and Anhui Province, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.

He however added that none of the 1,986 passengers who arrived at the KL International Airport and the Kota Kinabalu airport from China on Friday had showed symptoms of SARS. About 2,000 people a day arrive in Malaysia from various destinations in China.

Visiting Chinese vice-minister of Health Dr Zhu Qingsheng said China had nothing to hide.

The Chinese Government will be open about the case. We will share whatever we know with the outside world.

Last year China`s handling of the first SARS outbreak drew criticisms from the international community for the lack of transparency.

Tourism Malaysia said the recent SARS cases would not affect tourist arrivals from China to Malaysia as the Chinese Government is very proactive in taking steps to check the disease. China is one of the key markets for Malaysia.

The Tourism Ministry of Malaysia recently announced it would continue with the aggressive campaign to tap China by setting up tourism offices and appointing Chinese agents to promote the country in China.

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