Malaysia Has Suspended All Visas For Tourists From Wuhan And Surrounding Hubei Province

There are currently 4,409 confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China alone.

Cover image via Bernama via New Straits Times

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has temporarily suspended tourist visas for Chinese nationals in Wuhan city and the Hubei province

In a press statement yesterday evening, 27 January, the PMO said it is monitoring the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

"Following the latest information, the Malaysian government has decided to temporarily suspend all immigration facilities that is eNTRY (visa-free facilities), Visa On Arrival, e-visas, and manual visas to Chinese nationals from Wuhan city and the surrounding Hubei province," the statement read.

The decision was made based on the latest developments of 2019-nCoV cases in China, specifically in the Hubei province

The PMO added that the suspension takes effect immediately and that immigration facilities will resume when the situation has returned to normal.

The city of Wuhan has been in a virtual lockdown since last Thursday, 23 January, with trains and flights cancelled, public transport suspended, and most private cars banned from the roads, reported The Guardian.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and police have released a joint statement warning Malaysians against spreading false information on 2019-nCoV cases

"The police and MCMC have identified four individuals to assist in the investigation of distributing fake news related to the 2019-nCoV. Based on observations by the police and the MCMC, it was found that social media and online messaging platforms are the main platform used to distribute fake news about the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)," the statement read, as translated by New Straits Times.

"The public is urged to first verify any kind the information or news about the 2019-nCoV, obtained from third parties apart from the Health Ministry, before sharing it to others."

Those caught spreading fake news may be prosecuted under Section 505 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail term of two years, or a fine, or both.

The public can also be charged under the Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which carries a maximum fine of RM100,000, or a year's jail, or both.

According to a live tracker by the John Hopkins Centre for Systems Science and Engineering, there are currently 4,474 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus around the world

Of this number, 4,409 cases are located in China.

Only four cases have been confirmed in Malaysia so far, all of whom are Chinese nationals, reported The Straits Times.

Malaysia is ranked above Singapore and Japan as being "more prepared" for major infectious disease outbreaks:

Practising good hygiene can help prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV. Start by wearing a surgical mask the right way: