Malaysia Advises Citizens against Traveling to Swine Flu Affected Countries
    2009-04-28 01:01:38     Xinhua      Web Editor: Chu Daye

The Malaysian Health Ministry Monday advised its nationals against traveling to Canada, Mexico and some United States' states due to reports of swine flu infection there.

Malaysian Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said on Monday that he would like to advise all Malaysians against traveling to these places, although the World Health Organization (WHO) has not called for any sanction in travel or trade with those affected countries.

The Malaysian Health Ministry had alerted both public and private medical practitioners to report any patient they might have treated for influenza-like illness or severe pneumonia symptoms and who had a history of traveling to the above destinations after April 17, he said.

Those who test positive for the swine flu virus would be quarantined and treated at a designated hospital, he told reporters here.

The minister urged the public not to worry about the influenza outbreak in Mexico, Canada or the United States as the health authorities there had implemented various measures to contain the infection and prevent its spread.

The number of suspected swine flu cases in Mexico has climbed to 1,614, including 103 deaths, according to Mexican Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova. The United States has confirmed at least 20 cases of swine flu, and Canada six.

Malaysia also has a national influenza pandemic preparedness plan, which had been put in place during the SARS outbreak, he said, referring to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) global pandemic in 2002-2003.

Liow noted that his ministry would issue statements from time to time to keep the public informed about the infection.

Malaysia has stepped up screening checks at its international airports and other entry points on travelers from the affected countries, including purchasing new thermal scanners to place at its international airports.

Liow visited the screening area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday, where a place at the arrival hall has been designed to screen all passengers traveling from Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Agriculture and Agro Based Industries Ministry has made it compulsory for all pig farmers in the nation to immediately report if any of their workers or livestock shows signs of coughing or runny nose.


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