KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry needs to impose stricter health security measures to prevent a surge of Covid-19 cases.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said this included allowing only fully vaccinated travellers with negative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results from China to enter the country from Jan 8.
MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said travellers from the republic must be screened upon arrival or undergo Antigen Rapid Test Kits (RTK-Ag) screening within 24 hours of arrival.
He also said the same precautions should be adopted for travellers from other nations experiencing a significant rise in Covid-19 cases.
"More needs to be done to prevent Covid-19 imported cases, despite the Health Ministry's existing precautionary measures in preparation for a possible surge of cases.
"(However) we are concerned that, with shortages in manpower at our public healthcare facilities, the healthcare system can still be overwhelmed if cases requiring hospitalisation and intensive care unit (ICU) admission begin to surge.
"Perhaps as an additional precaution, the government can look at a gradual opening to visitors from China and relax restrictions when the Covid-19 situation there improves significantly," he said in a statement today.
Dr Muruga Raj said the onus was on the government to ensure that public health and safety remain their highest priorities, even though Malaysia would stand to benefit economically from tourism with high numbers of travellers expected from China.
"We note the public's concerns over the move to allow travellers from China into the country at this time and wish to remind the public that the coronavirus has been around for three years.
"We have much better control over it now.
"What is important is that we take all available preventive measures against Covid-19, including getting your booster shot when it is due and wearing face masks in crowded and enclosed spaces.
"It is also important to adopt a healthy lifestyle as it strengthens your defence against infectious diseases."