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A medical worker puts on a protective suit before entering a sports centre which has been converted into a makeshift hospital to treat patients of the novel coronavirus, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. -cnsphoto via Reuters

LANGKAWI: China has demonstrated an unprecedented level of efforts in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak which is spreading across the republic as well as affecting 24 other nations around the world.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described the efforts deployed by the Chinese government in combating the deadly virus, which has killed more than 1,400 people to date, as ‘extra-ordinary’.

Dr Mahathir was asked to comment on his telephone conversation with Chinese president Xi Jinping that took place yesterday (Feb 13).

“We (Malaysia) expressed our sympathy towards Jinping (over the outbreak). We had also thanked him for the efforts taken by the Chinese government.

“It is clear that the President of China is concerned about this and that he has taken extraordinary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

“I believe that he has done whatever he can (to prevent Covid-2019 from spreading) and for that, we thanked him for his effort,” Dr Mahathir, who is also the Langkawi member of Parliament, told reporters here today.

The Foreign Ministry in a statement on Thursday said Malaysia and China are committed to strengthening cooperation and mounting a concerted effort to overcome the ongoing outbreak.

The mutual understanding and close cooperation between the two nations in battling the epidemic was relayed, discussed and manifested through the telephone conversation between the two leaders.

Staff members wearing face masks stand next to a stall set up by a restaurant outside its outlet in central Beijing, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China. -Reuters

Xi had also pledged that the Chinese government would take care of Malaysians currently in China and ‘treat them as its own citizens.’

Dr Mahathir added Xi had facilitated efforts by the Malaysian government in flying home Malaysian citizens together with their spouses and children who were stranded in Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the epidemic.

The prime minister was referring to the evacuation of 107 Malaysians together with their non-citizen spouses and children from Wuhan, who had arrived in the country using an Air Asia flight on February 4.

They were accompanied by the 12-member flight crew and eight Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) personnel as well as six Malaysian Embassy in China officers, who were deployed to Wuhan from Beijing.

On the home front, Dr Mahathir said effective measures are in place to prevent the spread of the virus into the country.

Since Covid-2019 cases surfaced and reported in China, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia has implemented precautionary measures that included conducting screening against travellers with a history of visiting Wuhan and cities in the Hubei province as well as asymptomatic close contacts.

“If there are travellers coming into the country displayed symptoms related to the coronavirus, we will place them in quarantine for 14 days. The same (procedures) applies involving Malaysian citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan.

“The measures in place are effective and with the help of the people, I am sure that we can control the coronavirus from spreading.” he said.

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