The outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus detected in Wuhan, China has prompted health authorities in Malaysia to keep a close watch on the situation by screening the body temperature of international travellers arriving at the airports of Malaysia.
A total of 22 flights depart from three international airports in Malaysia to Wuhan each week, where the outbreak of a mysterious virus has been detected in Wuhan.
The city is detected to have a new strain of coronavirus known as 2019 NCOV or Wuhan coronavirus.
Flights from the KL International Airport, KL International Airport 2 and Kota Kinabalu International Airport fly to Wuhan directly.
Two airlines offer seven flights from the KL International Airport each week. The Malindo Air flies from KL International Airport to Wuhan on every Wednesday and Friday. On Sunday, Malindo Air flies to Wuhan from Kota Kinabalu International Airport. The Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Dragon Airlines collaborate in flights to Wuhan four flights a day, stopping over in Hong Kong.
Air Asia flies to Wuhan daily with seven flights in a week from KL International Airport 2.
At the Kota Kinabalu Airport, Air Asia offers direct flights to Wuhan eight flights in a week. It has an additional flight on Tuesday from Wuhan to Kota Kinabalu.
This does not include flights offered by other airlines – Xiamen Airline, Scoot Airline, Southern Airline, Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon Airline, China Eastern Airline and others.
A new strain of coronavirus traced to Wuhan promoted many countries and regions beef up prevention measures. Wuhan is a major transport hub in China with the population of 11 million. Thousands of Chinese return home to celebrate Chinese New Year from Wuhan and many fly out of China during Chinese New Year break from Wuhan.
The Flightradar24 website shows that from 20 to 27 January, a total of 2,131 flights depart from Wuhan to other cities in China. The website indicates 205 are international flights where 54 flights are flying to Thailand.
The Health Ministry of Malaysia is looking into extending its scope to check travellers from China and not only those from Wuhan for safety reason.
Deputy Minister of Health Dr Lee Boon Chye said the government had to enhance prevention measures.
“We are keeping a close watch and would announce new measures once a decision is made,’’ he said.
All international airports in Malaysia are equipped with 24 hour body temperature scan to check travellers arriving at the airport from overseas.
The ministry has also printed fliers on health alert in two languages to be distributed to travellers at the international airports.