SARIKEI: Sarawak is monitoring the spread of the novel coronavirus as a precaution when organising international events.

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said so far, such events or activities would still be carried out.

However, any decision to postpone or cancel any event would be subject to what could happen under the current situation.

“Monitoring will always be done before we decide to cancel events or otherwise,” he told reporters while attending Repok Chinese New Year open house at Dewan Sentral Sarikei, yesterday.

“At the same time, we are also monitoring the federal government’s decision on whether to restrict or ban the entry of foreign tourists,” he said.

He then urged the Health Ministry to look into the issue and handle it more comprehensively.

Abdul Karim said that security controls should be placed at every entry point and not just applied to aircraft passengers from China alone.

“We have to be more careful because this virus can spread to anyone whether Chinese or not,” he said, admitting that the outbreak had a direct impact on the number of tourists coming to this country, particularly those from China.

When asked if Sarawak had imposed land controls on tourists at border entry points, he said, “This virus is only be detected in the human body after about two weeks of being infected. In that period, anyone can enter via our border points.”

“Due to this, so far, it is difficult to screen tourists,” Abdul Karim said.