PUTRAJAYA: Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein urged Malaysians in the United States and the United Kingdom to return home before both countries impose lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19.
He said there are still commercial flights in and out of the two countries.
“So, my advice to Malaysians there is come back now. Don’t wait, if at all, until there is a lockdown in both countries,” he said after receiving a consignment of medical equipment from Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian at Wisma Putra today.
Hishammuddin said if both the countries impose a lockdown, and Malaysians only sought help later, the cost of chartering flights would be expensive.
“In the US, if we want to bring all Malaysians home, it is going to cost about RM50 million.
“That sum of money could be spent to buy equipment and medication here,” he said.
It was reported that the US had recorded more than 100,000 Covid-19 cases while the UK had 14,579 cases as of today.
Hishammuddin said efforts to bring home Malaysians in countries such as China, India and Italy were done with assistance from third parties and sponsors.
“My deputy (Kamarudin Jaffar) is always updating the public on our efforts to bring back Malaysians. They are based on sponsors and assistance, without touching public funds,” he said.
The aid Malaysia received from China today comprised 100,000 units of 2019-nCoV nucleic acid diagnostic test kits, 100,000 N95 face masks, 500,000 surgical masks, 50,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) and 200 ventilators.
Hishammuddin thanked the Chinese government for sponsoring the items which will be used by frontline workers.
Bai told reporters the Chinese government was ready to offer the assistance of medical experts to Malaysia to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are still making plans for this as we need to know what the actual requirements on the ground are,” he said.