Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Putrajaya has no plan to review the 15-day visa exemption for tourists from China following the first set of coronavirus cases in the country.
“At the moment not yet, but we are examining all tourists coming here, especially those from China,” he told the media in Kuala Lumpur today.
Earlier, in Putrajaya, the Health Ministry had proposed to discuss with the Home Ministry the possibility of restricting the arrivals of Chinese nationals to minimise the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.
Asked to comment on certain quarters who questioned the government’s decision to give the visa exemption to Chinese tourists, Mahathir stressed the decision was made before the virus outbreak in Wuhan.
“This (the decision) was before we thought about the coronavirus. How would we have known? And (at that time), China had given a three-year visa (exemption) to Malaysians,” he said.
He was met at the Chinese New Year open house event at the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) in Kuala Lumpur.
Asked about the three Chinese patients treated in Malaysia, Mahathir said the trio will continue to be quarantined here.
“We will observe (their condition), we will allow them to stay and quarantine them,” Mahathir said.
On the other hand, Mahathir noted that while Chinese tourists would be the biggest segment of tourists visiting Malaysia in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, they would likely be restricted from travelling out of their country.
“We believe that the biggest number of tourists coming to Malaysia is from China. Because China is now facing the (coronavirus) problem, maybe they will not be able to go out.
“In fact, in Wuhan, the government has quarantined the whole city […] 11 million people are not allowed to come in or go out,” he said.
Following the news of the cases in Malaysia, Mahathir reminded the people to be more careful.
“I would remind everybody to be careful. When you feel that there is a big crowd, it is good for you to wear a mask.”
Retrieved from Malaysiakini