29 February 2020, Saturday | 08:08pm

Ministry to keep close watch on influenza cases to ensure tourism is not affected

2020-01-20

 

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is keeping a close watch on Influenza A cases in the country as the spread of infectious diseases could negatively affect the tourism industry.

Its deputy minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said the ministry was working closely with the Immigration Department, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), and the Health Ministry.

“We are monitoring the number (of Influenza A cases) and (entry points) closely to prevent the Influenza A virus from spreading.

“We don’t know if there is going to be any negative impact on the tourism flow as of yet, but we will continue to monitor the outbreak closely.

“I will get a hold of our counterparts in the Immigration department and MAHB to see if there is any decline in tourist numbers,” he told reporters here today after launching the “VM2020 [email protected]”.

 

Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said the ministry was working closely with the Immigration Department, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), and the Health Ministry. NSTP/ZUNNUR AL SHAFIQ

 

Bakhtiar, however, said Malaysia recorded a growth in tourists arrivals based on the number of airlines’ forward bookings in November and December.

“I’m not sure whether there will be any impact on the number of tourist arrivals in January. We will monitor closely.”

More than 120 cases of Influenza A have been reported in Penang, Selangor, Pahang and Negri Sembilan since the start of 2020.

On Dec 8, Malaysia saw its first polio case in nearly three decades. And in 2017, the Health Ministry disclosed there were some 25,000 tuberculosis cases with more than 1,900 deaths.

It was reported that an outbreak at any place must be seen as a threat to all countries, especially those that serve as popular travel destinations.

This is significant for Malaysia, especially with Visit Malaysia Year 2020. With the visa waiver for Indian and Chinese tourists, some 30 million visitors were expected here.

Health authorities have taken measures to protect Malaysia against viruses coming from beyond its borders.

Thermal scanners have been installed at international airports and other entry points to ensure visitors undergo health screening. Quarantine sites have also been identified.

Besides that, some 99,470 additional influenza doses will be brought in this month to meet the sharp demand for the vaccine.

 
 

 

Source: News Straits Times

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