Johor tightens control at six entry points

People at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Johor Baru on Aug 1, 2014. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

The Johor government is stepping up control at six entry points to curb the spread of the Zika virus into the country.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman Ayub Rahmat said the entry points were the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex in Tanjung Kupang, Johor Port in Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Pelepas in Gelang Patah, the Puteri Harbour Ferry Terminal and the Stulang Laut Ferry Terminal.

"Control at the six points of entry will be tightened through screening of visitors and Malaysian citizens coming from Singapore by using thermal scanners to stop those with body temperatures above 37 deg C from entering the country," he told reporters yesterday.

Screening will be carried out round the clock by the Johor Health Department and Johor Bahru Health Office, with the help of the Immigration Department.

He said the department also encourages cars, buses and lorries using the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar and Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ complexes to be equipped with insect sprays to prevent mosquitoes from being brought in.

Malaysia's northern neighbour, Thailand, has seen "widespread" transmission of the virus over the past three months, said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The organisation, which last updated its data last Friday, classifies a country under that high-alert category when it has "more than 10 locally transmitted cases of Zika virus", or "at least two separate areas report locally transmitted cases of Zika virus", or if "Zika virus transmission is ongoing in an area for more than three months".

Thai provincial officials say at least 23 cases have been discovered outside Bangkok in recent months.

Chiang Mai, Phetchabun, Buengkan and Chanthaburi have all reported Zika patients.

The ECDC also identified Vietnam and Indonesia as sites where there is "sporadic transmission" of the virus, meaning no more than 10 locally transmitted cases have been reported in a single area within the past three months.

Meanwhile, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea have advised pregnant women and those attempting to get pregnant to avoid travelling to Singapore after an outbreak of the virus infected more than 50 people in the city-state.•

Those returning from Singapore should also avoid pregnancy for two months, they added.

The Singapore Tourism Board said it was monitoring developments, that Singapore remained a "safe travel destination", and that it was premature to consider any impact. REUTERS, BERNAMA

•Additional reporting by Tan Hui Yee in Bangkok

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline Johor tightens control at six entry points. Subscribe