China tourist warded in Sabah on suspicion of having coronavirus

Sabah Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Frankie Poon and state health director Dr Christina Rundi (at right) watch a health official operating the thermal camera as passengers arrive at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport at 3am today.

KOTA KINABALU: The health ministry is awaiting test results on a Chinese tourist in Sabah to establish whether he has been infected with the coronavirus.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye told FMT that the person had been put in an isolation ward at a hospital here.

“We are still waiting for the results … it is not confirmed yet,” he said.

Asked about the details of the patient, he said it was not the right time to release more information as the case has yet to be confirmed.

It was reported that a man, believed to be a Chinese tourist, was taken from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here after showing symptoms of the virus.

Meanwhile, in a statement, health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) had received four reports of people suspected of being infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

“Once detected, they were sent to isolation wards to enable treatment and for further investigations to be carried out.

“The lab tests from the first three patients came back negative.

“In the latest case in Sabah on Jan 22, the person is in stable condition,” he said, adding that test samples have been sent for checking and confirmation.

Earlier today, Sabah Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Frankie Poon said the KKIA had been placed on high alert to scan all international flights passengers entering the state.

Poon, accompanied by Sabah health director Dr Christina Rundi, inspected the facilities and procedures of the health ministry at the KKIA at 3am today.

Poon said members of the public were very concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus. He wanted to know first-hand the inspection procedures and how every international passenger and crew member was being scanned.

“In fact, we started screening at the disembarkation point for flights from Wuhan on Jan 4.

“Isolation will be carried out immediately once a suspected condition is discovered or detected in a passenger. This is to prevent or avoid the spread of any virus,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wisma Putra has advised Malaysians to defer all non-essential travel to China’s Wuhan and other areas that could be affected by the coronavirus.

“Malaysians residing or travelling in the affected areas are advised to give utmost priority to their personal health and safety by taking precautionary measures and adhere to instructions issued by the local authorities,” it said in a statement today.

Wisma Putra said this advisory followed the decision of the China authorities to suspend outbound travel from Wuhan effective Thursday (Jan 23), as well as the decision by several airlines to suspend their flights to and from Wuhan starting today until further notice.