PETALING JAYA: The government needs to learn from the old mistake of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in February 2020 which was slow to act to restrict the entry of tourists from risky countries resulting in the death of thousands of people and the destruction of the economy which has not yet recovered.
Chief of the United Malaysian Forces (Armada), Wan Ahmad Fahysal Wan Ahmad Kamal said, the government should monitor the very severe development of Covid-19 in China as reported by the international media, recalling the same incident in early 2020.
Thus, he said, agile and decisive action must be taken immediately to avoid contagion that occurs unexpectedly, especially involving the movement of people in and out of all the country’s border entrances.
“According to the health data agency Airfinity based in the United Kingdom, the Covid-19 situation in China will peak again from November 2022 after China relaxed their zero Covid-19 policy. The effects of loose controls show that the death toll of December 2022 to date has reached 100,000 people with a total of 18.6 million infections.
“Airfinity also expects the number of deaths to peak in January 2023 with deaths reaching 25,000 people per day. We were shocked by the news reported by the New York Post on December 28, 2022, hundreds of passengers from China who landed at Malpensa International Airport, Milan were positive for Covid-19 and had to be isolated immediately.
“Armada wants the interests of the people to be prioritized over other matters in the matter of the latest threat of Covid-19,” he said in a statement.
He explained that although the Armada supports the actions of the Ministry of Health to strengthen measures to deal with the surge in Covid-19 cases, including isolating and testing passengers with symptoms, conducting random inspections of aircraft sewage and conducting RTK and PCR tests on positive passengers, they are confident that these actions not enough.
He said, the stricter preventive action is that the government must temporarily prevent the entry of tourists from China until the daily cases in China decrease.
“This is in line with the call of the President of the Malaysian Tourism Association, Uzaidi Udanis, because we must learn from the first and second waves of Covid-19 that devastated the country’s tourism industry,” he said.
According to the Machang Member of Parliament, several countries took drastic measures following the emergence of the latest variant known as BF.7 by controlling the entry of Chinese visitors including Japan when its Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida ordered the number of flights to be limited to four main airports with tourists from at-risk countries obliged to show results before being allowed to enter.
“The United States is in the process of restricting the entry of Chinese tourists for public health reasons. Turkey requires tourists from China to take a test before departure. The United Kingdom and France are monitoring random Covid-19 samples from passengers coming from at-risk countries,” he explained. – MESSENGER
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