Wuhan virus: Don’t create public panic with unverified news, urges Bandar Kuching MP

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Jan 28: Members of the public are urged not to spread unnecessary panic about the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Malaysia through unverified news on social media or WhatsApp.

MP Bandar Kuching Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen observed that for the past few days, the amount of fake news on the virus circulating, including from Sarawak, is at a critical stage as it also hinders the work of healthcare professionals in dealing with the issue.

“I understand the concerns of the rakyat, who want to protect themselves and their families from 2019-nCoV. But it is also important that the public do not spread unnecessary panic through unverified news on social media on the virus.

“The best way is to remain calm, to trust official sources of information, and to practise the precautions advised by the Health Ministry (MOH). Otherwise healthcare professionals have to waste precious resources fighting fake news, taking them away from the important job to curb the spread of the virus,” Dr Yii emphasised in a statement.

He gave assurance that MOH is committed to doing the necessary to curb the virus and prevent its spread even here in Sarawak.

“All suspected cases are being dealt with and tests are being done to verify whether they are positive for the Wuhan virus. I was informed that the results for the suspected case in Bintulu will be announced shortly,” he disclosed.

Members of the public are advised to be vigilant and take all the necessary precautions to curb the spread of the virus including practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face mask in case feeling unwell.

Those that are feeling unwell or have travelled to China in the past few months are highly advised to seek the proper treatment in Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) which is a specially designated hospital for further treatment in such cases.

For those that are concerned on the shortage of face masks, Dr Yii revealed he had been informed that suppliers are currently sourcing from different areas as much and as fast as they can.

“However, we can also learn who and when there is a need to wear a mask and for those who may not have to, there wouldn’t be any unnecessary panic even if there is not enough for everybody,” he asserted.

Dr Yii also pointed out that Malaysia has strong and proven capabilities to handle outbreaks and these capabilities are acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Malaysia is ranked 18th in the world on the Global Health Security Index, being on top in Asia, higher than Singapore and South Korea.

“Malaysian health professionals successfully protected Malaysia from Nipah Virus in 1998, SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009 and MERS in 2014. In non-outbreak periods, they work daily to reduce dengue, tuberculosis and HIV which also affect our general public. That is why I believe we should trust and support our healthcare professionals and support their effort to contain the novel coronavirus in Malaysia,” Dr Yii opined. — DayakDaily