Funding for an additional 12 thermal scanners has been expedited through the Ministry of Finance at the behest of the Health Minister, who has said that Malaysia needs to ramp up efforts to monitor potential outbreak threats of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Both ministers were able to agree to the request quickly, with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng agreeing that the devices were necessary to protect public health.
“I have asked the secretary-general of the Treasury to provide every cooperation for this allocation to be channeled as soon as possible,” Lim said in a statement today.
Four cases in Malaysia have now been confirmed, with officials trying desperately to contain a possible outbreak on our shores by setting up thermal scanning stations at all of the country’s major entry points. Authorities have stressed that the four cases affecting Chinese nationals in the country are under control.
Malaysia has also stopped issuing visa’s to Wuhan residents and those from the surrounding area seeking travel permits to the country while they try to contain the disease.
Health Ministry officials also released a list of 26 hospitals across the country that will provide services to patients under investigation, and those who have been confirmed to be suffering from the virus.
Fifteen of those hospitals are on the Malaysian peninsula, while four are in Sabah, six are in Sarawak and one is in Labuan.
Confirmed infections have soared to more than 4,500 across China, mainly in Wuhan, which the authorities there have attempted to seal off, along with around 10 other Chinese cities in a bid to contain the virus. More than 50 million people have thus been “locked in.”
Prior to government orders to de facto quarantine the city, 5 million managed to flee Wuhan, mayor Zhou Xianwang told reporters Sunday. Zhou also confessed to withholding information about the outbreak.
The novel coronavirus has spread to at least 13 other countries outside of China – the first case in Cambodia was confirmed last night – a Chinese man from Wuhan who had visited Sihanoukville city earlier this month.
Several nations including France, Thailand and Australia said they would evacuate their citizens from the quarantined Chinese city.
China has been rushing to build a hospital in Wuhan to treat coronavirus patients and it is expected to be complete by this week.
The SARS-like virus, also known as 2019-nCoV, is a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it also comes from animals, and is believed to have emerged from a now-shuttered market that sold exotic wildlife such as bats. China has temporarily suspended all wildlife trade.
The head of the World Health Organization was in Beijing today to discuss the outbreak, days after he said the Wuhan pneumonia virus did not yet constitute a global health emergency due to the limited number of cases abroad.
Canada, Germany and France are among countries outside of China with confirmed cases. In other parts of Asia, new cases have been confirmed in Cambodia and Sri Lanka, while Hong Kong now matches Thailand with the most number of confirmed cases – eight.