Health of Malaysians in Sabah priority: Liew
Published on: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
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Kota Kinabalu: The well-being of the local community supersedes the goal of achieving Key Performance Indices (KPIs) set by the State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment.

 Its Minister Datuk Christina Liew (pic) said this in the light of Malaysia’s temporary suspension of the issuance of visas to Chinese citizens from the city of Wuhan and Hubei province and its surrounding areas over concerns of the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.

 On Sunday afternoon, the Federal Government announced its action to temporarily halt the issuance of eNTRY(facility without visa), Visa On Arrival (VOA), e-visa and manual visas to China nationals from Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province.

 “Although Sabah Tourism has been resilient through several pandemics going back to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009 which had been averted with the great cooperation of all industry players, we are not taking any chances this time around.

“I have been updated that most hotels in Sabah have already implemented health checks and stringent hygiene plans. 

“As for tour operators managing the tours for China tourists who are already in Sabah before the travel ban, I am aware that tour guides and operation managers are observing the well-being of each traveller.

 “I am really glad to note that the industry partners, while acknowledging that in terms of business, there will be financial implications, are in support of the current travel bans and will continue to adjust accordingly based on the government’s decisions and directives,” she said in a statement, Sunday.

 On extra measures to assist in containing the coronavirus, Liew said since Jan. 22, the Ministry of Health stationed additional screening booths at arrival gates of all international flights into Sabah. 

 “And Malaysia Airports Berhad has taken steps to continuously maintain a high level of hygiene with extra sanitising measures.”

The Wuhan coronavirus which first made headlines on New Year Eve last year has now caused 80 confirmed deaths and at least 2,800 confirmed cases across China.

 On 23 January 2020, China suspended all travel to and from Wuhan and the following day, imposed travel restrictions on another seven cities in China. 

 Malaysian-based airlines equally echoed the cancellation of all their Wuhan flights into the country.


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