Wednesday, September 23

Dr Sim calls for extra precaution in wake of SARS-family virus, Wuhan virus

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Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian appeals to Sarawakians who had recently travelled to China to take special precautions, if they experienced any fever or cold. – AFP file photo

KUCHING: Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said today that he is very concerned about the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-family virus and Wuhan virus from China.

He appealed to Sarawakians who had recently travelled to China to take special precautions, if they experienced any fever or cold.

“What is more worried is the ‘SARS-family’ virus from China. So I have asked the state Health Department to take special precautions at all points of entry, and also to alert doctors.

“Those having fever, especially those returning from China must take special precautions,” he told reporters before attending a function at CityONE Megamall here.

Dr Sim stressed that everyone must be more cautious of the SARS endemic, which in the 1990s had “endangered the whole community”.

Recently, he said more than 4,000 people had been infected with the Wuhan virus, based on news reports from China.

Because of this, he said: “We need the Health Department and all the doctors to be vigilant. And we need the public who have been to Wuhan, if you have fever or cold, please don’t go around but cover yourself up.”

He went on to advise: “Go to the nearest hospital. Don’t start coughing everywhere and everyone may be infected. Be responsible.”

Earlier, Dr Sim admitted that there was a shortage of flu vaccine supplies in the country but he said further comments should come from the Ministry of Health.

However, he said the state Health Department had informed him that the ‘influenza season’ in Sarawak “is coming to an end”.

“So hopefully once the influenza season comes to an end, Sarawakians are safe,” he added.

Last week, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) in a statement said general practitioners (GPs) in the country had complained to them about an acute shortage of flu vaccine supplies.

“Talk on this is also currently trending on various social media platforms with GPs voicing their displeasure about the supply problem with allegations that importance is given to the private hospitals while the fragmented but well distributed GP clinics are being sidelined,” said MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran.

According to Dr Ganabaskaran, the GPs are the last to receive supply each time when there is a vaccine shortage.