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KUALA LUMPUR: The influenza situation in Malaysia has nothing to do with the spread of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, said Health director-general  Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said that based on monitoring done, so far there were no suspected novel coronavirus cases reported to the Health Ministry.   

However, he said the ministry would step up monitoring and preparedness to face the possibility of the  novel coronavirus  reported in Wuhan  spreading in Malaysia. 

“The influenza situation reported in Malaysia now is under control and is not linked to that outbreak (in Wuhan).

“The Health Ministry will continue to monitor the situation on lung infections and any updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be relayed from time to time,” he said in a statement here today.

He said, on preparedness, among the steps taken were emphasising and strengthening screening activities on incoming travellers at the country’s entry points.

He stressed that as for travellers found to be having fever or fever symptoms,  further examination will be conducted at a health quarantine centre or screening facility at the international entry point   (of the traveller).

“”Screening of patients at health clinics and emergency departments at hospitals will also be tightened so as to ensure that suspected cases are handled as per the preventive measures,” he said.

He advised anyone experiencing acute respiratory symptoms within 14 days after returning from Wuhan to go to the nearest health facility for screening.

“If a suspected case is detected at any health facility, it must be reported without delay to the District Health Office, State Health Office and the Health Ministry’s  Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).

“The Ministry is also raising capacity on detection and verification tests of the novel coronavirus through the Institute of Medical Research and National Public Health Laboratory,” he added.

Dr Noor Hisham also advised the ministry’s staff to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and stock up on PPE and needed medicines to meet requirements at their respective facilities in facing the current influenza situation.

On Jan 12, WHO confirmed that pneumonia clusters in Wuhan were caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus, which had not been identified or detected in humans before, and stated that how it was being spread was still under investigation.

So far, 41 cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia with one fatality have been reported. Seven of the patients are reported to be in critical condition and the rest stable. – BERNAMA