JOHOR BARU: All Johor Health Department staff and personnel on duty at entry points have been instructed to scan tourists coming into the state from Zika-infected countries.
Department deputy director Dr Fatimah Othman said the tourists would have their temperature screened and be issued a health alert card that explains the Zika symptoms and urge them to see a doctor if they experience the symptoms.
“We have also put up buntings and banners and distributed flyers at all the international entry points in Johor, warning the people about the Zika virus,” she said in a statement on Monday.
She added that at entry points such as the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex, thermal scan screenings were available to monitor whether visitors from Singapore have a fever if they fail to inform Immigration or Health Departments personnel.
Dr Fatimah added that they were on high alert following the first Zika case that was reported in Singapore on May 13 after a 48-year-old man tested positive for the virus.
“Although the Singapore Health Ministry has established that it was an imported Zika case and not one that was contracted in the island republic, both Malaysia and Singapore are in close contact to monitor and prevent Zika from spreading,” she added.
She said standard operating procedures have been established since the World Health Organisation issued a warning about the Zika virus in Brazil on Feb 4.
She added all government and private hospitals, district health offices, government agencies and universities were briefed on the virus on Feb 13.
She said as of April 7, 672 tourists who entered Johor from Zika-affected countries were screened but they did not show symptoms of the virus while 5,291 health alert cards were distributed to visitors who had been screened.
“There are also no reported cases of the virus at health clinics,” she said.
(A general view shows a notice warning outbound travelers about the Zika virus in the departure lobby of Incheon airport, west of Seoul, South Korea, 11 May 2016. – EPA)