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Jakarta Post

Malaysia imposes ban on Chinese tourists from Wuhan


    Agence France-Presse

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   /   Tue, January 28, 2020   /   03:23 pm
 Malaysia imposes ban on Chinese tourists from Wuhan A woman wearing a protective mask to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in Wuhan, looks at her smartphone at the Beijing railway station in Beijing on January 27, 2020. - China on January 27 extended its biggest national holiday to buy time in the fight against a viral epidemic and neighbouring Mongolia closed its border, after the death toll spiked to 81 despite unprecedented quarantine measures. (AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

Malaysia banned visitors from the Chinese city of Wuhan and its surrounding Hubei province on Monday, in a bid to contain the spread of a deadly virus.

A statement by the prime minister's office said the authorities will temporarily halt all issuance of visas for Chinese citizens from the area with immediate effect.

"The government has decided to suspend temporarily all immigration facilities ... to all China nationals from Wuhan city and the surrounding Hubei province," it said. 

Malaysia has reported four confirmed cases of the flu-like virus which started in the central-Chinese city and has spread worldwide.

All four, including two children, are in stable condition. They are tourists from Wuhan who entered Malaysia for a holiday via neighbouring Singapore.

The virus, similar to the SARS pathogen, has claimed at least 81 lives -- all of them in China.

Malaysia welcomed 2.94 million visitors from China last year and is aiming to raise this to 3.48 million this year.

The prime minister's office said the ban will be lifted when the situation returns to normal.

Meanwhile, a campaign by Malaysians on petition website urging the government to bar Chinese nationals from entering the country has gathered more than 383,000 signatures of the 500,000 target as of Monday evening.

"The government should think more of the health of Malaysians," the petition said.

"Don't wait until there is death among Malaysian people then only the government wants to take some preventive action."