PUTRAJAYA - Malaysians who will be brought back home from the coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan in China will be quarantined for 14 days upon their return, said the Prime Minister.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government, which is working with its Chinese counterpart to secure the return of 78 Malaysians, will not allow them to go home until they show signs that they are not infected by the virus.
He said the decision to evacuate them was made by the Cabinet, which saw the issue of the spreading coronavirus at the top of the meeting's agenda.
"Malaysians who return to the country will be quarantined for 14 days first before they are allowed to go home to ensure they are not affected by the novel coronavirus, " he told reporters yesterday.
The Japanese government recently evacuated its citizens out of the virus-hit Wuhan city by plane.
About 206 Japanese nationals were on board the flight out.
Dr Mahathir said that there are 26 Health Ministry facilities that provide quarantine care for the returning Malaysians.
"No, we don't have to quarantine them in Pulau Jerejak. They will be quarantined at hospitals, " he said in response to a question if the government wants to quarantine Malaysians returning from Wuhan on the island.
Pulau Jerejak was once a leprosy colony and had served as a maximum security prison before it was closed in 1993.
Dr Mahathir said the Foreign Ministry will be in touch with the Chinese government to facilitate the return of the Malaysians.
Wuhan has been under lockdown since Jan 23 where the Chinese government had banned movement in and out of the city in an effort to quarantine the epicentre of the novel coronavirus.
The Malaysian government had imposed a temporary ban on Chinese citizens from Wuhan city and the surrounding Hubei province.
The Prime Minister also said Malaysia wants to provide assistance to the people of Wuhan by sending food and other essentials such as gloves and face masks, which are getting depleted.
"We are told that food supply in Wuhan is diminishing and can only last for a few days. We are interested to help the people of Wuhan.
"If we are allowed to send a flight to pick up Malaysians in Wuhan, then we can send the supplies to the people there, " he said.
On seven positive cases of coronavirus in Malaysia, Dr Mahathir said they are in stable condition and there is no worsening of the symptoms.
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