Tourism not affected by outbreak, says MATTA

KUALA LUMPUR: The coronavirus outbreak in China will not haveahuge impact on international tourist arrivals, especially Chinese tourists.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the outbreak was contained in Wuhan and the Health Ministry was taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus into Malaysia.

“Therefore, the coronavirus outbreak will not affect tourist arrivals because no cases have been detected in Malaysia.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not issued travel restrictions and authorities worldwide are proactive and on high alert,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Tan said airlines would continue to fly to China and would ground their flights only if the government issuedatravel advisory.

He said travellers who had made prior travel arrangements could continue their journeys.

However, they were advised to take precautionary measures, such as donning face masks and observing high standards of hygiene.

“Individuals who visited China recently and are having fever, cold or any related symptom are advised to visit the nearest hospital for health screenings.

“MATTA will work with the authorities to ensure correct information is given to travellers.”

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that many Chinese nationals had chosen to postpone their travel plans.

The new virus, which can be spread from human to human, has caused alarm because of its genetic similarities to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed almost 650 people in mainland China and Hong Kong from 2002 to 2003.

The Chinese government had announced that it was classifying the outbreak in the same category as SARS, which means compulsory isolation of those infected with the virus.

It was reported that airports in United States, Australia, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Russia, Italy, South Korea and Singapore had tightened their screening of travellers from Wuhan and highrisk areas in China.