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By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, Jan 26: Sarawak will not enforce an entry ban on Chinese nationals and travellers from China, but will take precautionary measures at checkpoints to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the state.
Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Sebastian Ting, said border checkpoints will be tightened, including the issuance of visa-on-arrival (VOA) to Chinese nationals.
“We will enhance border control and monitor cross-border movement to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
“No doubt, the virus outbreak might affect the state tourism sector slightly,” he told reporters at his Chinese New Year Open House at Tanjong Lobang here today.
The VOA facilities were set up in airports and entry checkpoints across the country last year to boost tourist arrival in light of the Visit Malaysia campaign 2020.
Ting said the state government is committed to implement preventive mechanism to contain the Coronavirus and reduce the spread of the deadly virus in Sarawak, while working closely with the Health Department.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin when met at his Chinese New Year open house today at Jalan Woodhouse Tanjung Miri disclosed that his ministry will work closely with the state Health Department to implement precautionary measures, including strengthening checks at border crossings and aiports to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
“Our health department will follow the usual protocol,” he said.
The Coronavirus originated from Wuhan, China, and has claimed several lives with cases reported in a few countries including Malaysia.
In an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the China government has ordered all travel agencies to suspend sales of domestic and international tours immediately.
The virus, known as 2019-nCoV, originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, home to 11 million people.
Wuhan serves as a major transport hub for travel both within China and internationally.
Meanwhile, when asked about the possibility for the hydrogen-powered bus service to be expanded to other cities besides Kuching, Lee said: “When everything in order, then we will expand it (the service) to other cities in the state.”
The hydrogen-powered bus service was recently launched in Kuching on January 22.
The service is still in its trial run. — DayakDaily