KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, will be housed in a facility “very, very far from public” with 24-hour police surveillance, the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) told CNA on Monday (Feb 3).
The agency declined to reveal the exact location of the centre.
An AirAsia flight left Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for Wuhan on Monday afternoon to bring back 141 Malaysians and their spouses and children.
On the flight were 500,000 pairs of rubber gloves Malaysia will be giving to China to help it fight the coronavirus epidemic, the agency said in a statement.
The outbreak has killed more than 360 people and infected more than 17,000 others, mostly in China.
“All 141 passengers will have to go through health screening as stipulated by the aviation authority at Tianhe Wuhan International Airport before they are allowed to board the plane to return to Malaysia,” it said.
The agency added that it was unsure yet how much time is needed to conduct the health screening and complete the immigration process, as well as to obtain the departure permit.
When the plane lands in Malaysia, all passengers - including 12 crew members, eight mission officers and six officers from the Malaysian Embassy in China – will go through health screening at KLIA’s Air Disaster Unit.
Those who display symptoms will be brought to hospital while the rest will be brought to the monitoring centre by bus.
“They will be monitored for 14 days, even though they might have tested negative for coronavirus,” NADMA head of corporate communications Nur Daliza Dohat told CNA.
They will either be individually quarantined, or put in family rooms, she added.
“Food will be provided, while police will be on duty for surveillance,” Ms Nur Daliza said.
She said AirAsia and its crew members volunteered for the mission.
“The decision was made based on the fact that the airline operates a direct flight to Wuhan,” she said.
Separately, Health Minister Dzukefly Ahmad said in a statement on Monday that only those who are given a clean bill of health at the exit screening conducted by China’s health authorities at the Wuhan airport will be brought home.
“Those who are symptomatic will be brought to health facilities in Wuhan for further treatment,” he added.
Dr Dzulkefly stressed that the passengers will not enter KLIA's terminal building; they will be ferried to the Air Disaster Unit by bus for decontamination and entry screening.
Malaysia has eight confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, all of whom are Chinese nationals.