With the recent spike of COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, Iran and South Korea, the Malaysian government has imposed a travel restriction for travellers coming from Italy, Iran and South Korea. The restriction will be enforced starting this Friday, 13th March 2020.
According to the new Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, the decision was made during the first Cabinet meeting under the new administration led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
The ban also applies to foreigners that have visited these three countries including those transiting any entry points. For Malaysians, permanent residents and long-term pass holders that arrive from Italy, Iran and South Korea, they are required to undergo a 14-day observation at home under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
The minister also iterated that the existing ban on incoming travellers from Hubei, Zhejiang and Jiangsu in China, as well as Hokkaido in Japan was still in force.
Malaysia Airlines suspends flights to Seoul
Malaysia Airlines has also announced that it will temporarily suspend its flights between Kuala Lumpur and Seoul, Korea until 31st March 2020 in compliance with the government’s announcement. According to the airline, the last flights are MH66 from Kuala Lumpur to Incheon on 12th March and MH67 from Incheon to Kuala Lumpur on 13th March 2020.
All affected passengers will be able to request an alternative travel date until 31st December 2020 or request for a full refund or opt to be rerouted to other destinations within Greater China (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong or Xiamen) or Japan (Narita and Osaka). Malaysia Airlines will waive all applicable fees for refund and reissuance but passengers will need to pay the fare difference if any.
Early this morning, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. According to the organisation, the number of COVID-19 cases outside of China has increased 13-fold and the number of affected countries has tripled in the past two weeks.
According to the last update by the Ministry of Health, there are 119,260 confirmed cases worldwide with 4,287 deaths reported so far. In Malaysia, there are currently 149 confirmed cases with zero deaths.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the general public is urged to take preventive measures including frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and to cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Malaysians are also advised to follow travel advisories, avoid crowds and to take social distancing measures.