PUTRAJAYA, 24 June 2009: More stringent checks have been put in place in the country’s international airports to detect Influenza A(H1N1) in incoming passengers because some of them have been untruthful with their health information, Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said today.
He said there had been a 400% increase in the number of cases in a week because one or two undetected cases had sparked off local transmission.
“Last week, we had only 21 cases with one local transmission, but this week we have 80 cases with 11 local transmissions. This also means that we have a gap in the detection system.
“This rapid increase is due to those coming into the country not being truthful to us. Those who think they have the symptoms should be truthful. This applies especially to people coming from overseas from the affected countries,” he said.
Ismail said that beginning today, all airline passengers had to complete a health alert card on incoming flights and hand it to the health authorities before proceeding for immigration clearance.
“All those entering the country must give their full details. Our teams will also be on the lookout for passengers who do not look healthy. All cards will be checked, and those who fail to fill in all their details will be asked to do so before they can get to the immigration counter,” he said.
Ismail also said passengers arriving from the Philippines, the United States, and Australia, where there are a large number of Influenza A(H1N1) cases, would be scanned twice — once when they alighted from the aircraft, and again before they reached the immigration counter.
“We advise those coming from these countries to undergo self-quarantine for a few days before starting their normal routine,” he said.
He also said that the national technical committee on Influenza A(H1N1), which met here today, had also decided that infected Malaysians need not spend the entire seven days at designated hospitals.
“They can go home after three days if they do not have fever. But they must be on self-quarantine. This only applies to those above 18. We are trying to minimise hospital admissions,” he said. — Bernama