14 medical bodies call on Malaysians to stay calm, sensible in wake of coronavirus outbreak

The 14 Malaysian medical associations and societies say they have the highest trust in the health ministry’s efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The leaders of 14 medical associations and societies today called on Malaysians to show a strong, calm and sensible response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“They should only believe in information from trusted and reliable sources, specifically the official channels of the health ministry.

“We urge the people to be responsible on social media. Spreading false rumours or news is illegal and will distract the health ministry from important public health responses,” they said in a joint statement.

The group said they stood in strong support and partnership with the ministry, besides having the highest trust and confidence in its efforts to protect the health of all Malaysians.

They pointed out that Malaysian health professionals had successfully protected Malaysia from the Nipah virus outbreak in 1998, SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009 and MERS-CoV in 2015.

The statement was jointly issued by health systems and policy expert Dr Khor Swee Kheng, Malaysian Medical Assistance Association (MERCY Malaysia) founder Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s dean of medicine Dr Raja Affendi Raja Ali, Association of Public Health Specialists president Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar, Academy of Medicine Malaysia master Dr Rosmawati Mohamed, Islamic Medical Association Malaysia president Dr Jeffry Abu Hassan and Malaysian Medical Association presiodent Dr N Ganabaskaran.

The others were IKRAM Health Malaysia chairman Dr Abdul Halim Sibghatullah, Academy of Family Physicians Malaysia president Dr Mohammad Husni Jamal, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Amrahi Buang, Medical Mythbusters Malaysia president Dr Ahmad Firdaus Mohd Haris, Malaysian Nurses Association president Sharipah Asiah Syed Junid Aljunid and Malaysian Association of Medical Assistants president Mustafa Abd Majid.

Tourism ministry panel to monitor developments

The tourism, arts and culture ministry has set up a tourism recovery committee to monitor the latest developments of the coronavirus outbreak, its minister Mohamaddin Ketapi said.

He said the committee would provide advice and clarification to tourists on steps recommended by the health ministry to prevent infection during their stay.

The committee will also ensure that tourists have confidence in the measures implemented by the government.

“This includes supporting (the ministry’s) efforts in conducting health screening on all tourists arriving at all entry points into the country,” he said in a statement today.

Mohamaddin said the committee will also plan and formulate positive action to find new markets to replace sectors affected by the outbreak, particularly in China.