KUALA LUMPUR, 12 May 2009: Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai admitted that the government was under immense pressure to keep out the influenza A(H1N1) disease from Malaysia following the first confirmed case in Thailand today.
Liow also cautioned about a possible second wave of outbreak after the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed 4,379 infections worldwide, with the worst impact on South America where 60 people had died, mostly in Mexico.
“We are under increasing pressure to prevent the disease from spreading to our country. So far, we have done that, but at the same time we must be prepared for any eventuality,” he said after launching an International Nurses Day celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre, here, today.
Liow said the influenza surveillance measures as a long-term plan had been intensified, while keeping the disease away would be long-term challenge for the ministry.
He urged the public to pay more attention to personal hygiene and seek immediate medical attention if they developed any symptom of the disease.
The Health Ministry activated its National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan on 30 April.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said up to midnight, the ministry’s Crisis Preparation and Response Centre (CPRC) was notified of three people being admitted to the isolation wards of the Sungai Buloh Hospital and Seremban Hospital for observation and investigation.
“All the cases were however confirmed negative for influenza A(H1N1). So far, no case of the disease has been detected in this country,” he said in a statement today.
Ismail said 6,440 people were screened at all the country’s entry/exit points yesterday, with 6,051 of them screened at the airports, 124 at the ports and 265 at the land travel checkpoints, and there was no case referred to the hospital.
Until yesterday, 55,002 air passengers had been screened at the country’s international airports.
Ismail said 11 thermal scanners had been installed at six entry/exit points to speed up the screening process.
The CPRC received 44 calls and two e-mails from the public for advice on travel overseas, treatment, vaccine and screening for the disease.
“The public should not be too worried about the influenza A(H1N1) situation as the ministry is intensifying monitoring and taking proactive measures to safeguard the health of the people,” Ismail said.
He also said that there was no risk of being infected with the influenza A(H1N1) virus by consuming pork and pork products if they were prepared and cooked properly. — Bernama