Malaysia ranks third in Asia when it comes to capability in handling a virus outbreak according to the Global Health Security (GHS) index
The GHS index is an internationally recognised assessment of a country's capability in preventing, detecting, and responding to outbreaks, including the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which has so far tested positive on four Chinese nationals who entered the country.
Malaysiakini reported that the survey also takes into account a country's general health system, compliance with international norms, and risk management.
Thailand and South Korea are two of the most prepared countries in Asia to respond to infectious disease outbreaks according to the list
The GHS index segregates countries in three categories - most prepared, more prepared, and least prepared. Malaysia is placed in the second category while 13 countries are in the first category.
Malay Mail reported that Malaysia ranked 18th out of 195 countries globally on overall score. Meanwhile, Japan is at 21st place and Singapore is placed at number 24.
Thailand and South Korea are ahead of Malaysia in the list at sixth and ninth place respectively.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said that Malaysia has always been on high alert for major infectious disease outbreaks
According to Bernama, he said that health authorities have learned a lot from managing past outbreaks like the Zika and Nipah viruses as well as polio.
"We want to be better and in the top 10. We (Malaysia) have the experience and history in facing virus outbreaks," he explained.
Dr Dzulkefly also said the Ministry of Health will station 12 more thermal scanners at the country's entry points as soon as possible.
This is in addition to the 54 thermal scanners that are already in place. 33 of them are in the peninsula and 21 in Sabah and Sarawak.