Travellers claim no Ebola screening

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Several Malaysians returning from overseas claim they did not see any health screening for Ebola or temperature scanners at the airports or land entry points.

"The stewardesses sprayed some disinfectant in the flight before landing, but as we went past the auto gate at the airport, there were no health officers or scanners," said teacher Kho Wai Mun, 46, who landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) after 10pm on Sunday.

Kho said there were no Africans on her flights between Mongolia and the transit point of South Korea, and back to Malaysia.

"Although our exposure to the Ebola virus is low here, the awareness level needs to be heightened," she added.

Another passenger, Ooi Chin Hooi, 53, who touched down at 7.30pm on Sunday from Hong Kong, also noted that the checks were lax at the health booth.

Businesswoman Mel Hui, 39, said she and her husband Leslie Ho, in his 40s, too, did not see anyone manning the health booth at 5.15pm when they flew back from Bali on Oct 13.

Ho, a frequent traveller, said there were also no checks at the Johor Baru checkpoint when he drove back from Singapore.

However, he added that tourist arrivals from African countries were low in the country, compared to Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong where more rigorous checks were carried out.

"It is expensive to mobilise resources in view of the low exposure at this point. So I guess the best thing now is to adhere to the World Health Organisation's recommendations," said Ho.

Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the officer whom some passengers had seen at the screening booth in KLIA was tasked with observing the images on the monitor as relayed from the thermal scanner.

"Any person detected to have fever as displayed on the monitor will be approached for further examination," he said, adding that the Ebola screening was conducted with the cooperation of the Immigration Department.

"We also urge Malaysian citizens arriving from affected countries to report to the health staff at the workstation for further advice," he said.