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Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye visited the KLIA airport and checked on the situation at the thermal scanners placed at the arrival terminal following the outbreak of a mystery coronavirus in China. -NSTP/Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye visited the KLIA airport and checked on the situation at the thermal scanners placed at the arrival terminal following the outbreak of a mystery coronavirus in China. -NSTP/Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor

SEPANG: The health authorities detected 61 passengers with high body temperature between Jan 15 and Jan 20 when they landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) but it was just normal temperature.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said this when he visited the KLIA airport and checked on the situation at the thermal scanners placed at the arrival terminal following the outbreak of a mystery coronavirus in China.

"For the same period, we screened 258,246 passengers and 8,808 crew from 2,494 flights," he said.

Those who had high body temperature were taken to another area for a second screening process.

"So far, none of the 61 passengers with high body temperature tested positive for the said virus. They just had normal fever,

"Those who are tested positive will be send via ambulance to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for the next course of treatment," he said.

Anyone exposed to the new strain of the coronavirus, known as 2019 NCOV, Dr Lee said the incubation period would be about one week.

He advised those who came from countries with 2019 NCOV cases especially China to monitor their health for about two weeks and should they show any influenza-like symptoms to go to the health facilities for treatmen.

Dr Lee said Malaysia was keeping a close watch on the outcome of the emergency meeting that the World Health Organisation and the health authorities from China which was scheduled to be held tomorrow.

Any new measures including drastic ones to be rolled out by the ministry would be based on the outcome of the meeting, he said.

"Once we know the outcome of the meeting, we will see if there is a need to review our standard operating procedure."

Asked if the ministry would freeze the leave of healthcare staff since Malaysia had initiated the highest alert following the 2019 NCOV outbreak, Dr Lee it could be considered if there was a need for it.

On whether there was a need to take specific vaccine against the 2019 NCOV, he said there was no such vaccine at the moment and it would take years to develop one.

It was reported Malaysia's response teams at all international entry points and health facilities across the country had been placed on high alert following the outbreak.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was quoted saying that all the health units nationwide were standing guard to safeguard the country from the mysterious pneumonia which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

According to the latest foreign media reports, more than 200 cases of the new strain of coronavirus had been detected in China with four deaths recorded.

Meanwhile, the virus was reported to have spread to other countries in the region – two cases emerged in Thailand, one in Japan and one in South Korea.

Dr Lee also called on the public to observe good personal hygiene and stay away from those who had flu and cough.

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