Zika infections

Malaysia bans school trips to Singapore, Philippines over Zika fears

A worker fumigating a classroom in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday. On Sept 1, Malaysia reported its first Zika case - a woman who had visited Singapore.
A worker fumigating a classroom in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday. On Sept 1, Malaysia reported its first Zika case - a woman who had visited Singapore.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KOTA TINGGI • Malaysia's Education Ministry has imposed a temporary ban on school trips and other education-related visits to Singapore and the Philippines to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, according to Malaysian media reports.

The ministry issued a nationwide circular to all state and district-level education authorities announcing the temporary ban on Sept 1 after a high-level ministry meeting, Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid said yesterday.

"A circular was issued to all district education offices, state education departments and schools for all trips to Singapore and the Philippines to be postponed for the time being because of the cases of Zika in those countries," the New Straits Times quoted Datuk Seri Mahdzir as saying.

Malaysia on Sept 1 reported its first case of Zika in a 58-year-old woman who had visited Singapore.

The Malaysian Education Ministry's directive will remain in place until the country's Health Ministry issues an update on the Zika situation in Singapore and the Philippines.


Meanwhile, the husband of a pregnant woman in Johor Baru, who was found to be infected with Zika, has also tested positive for the virus, Malaysia's Health Ministry said yesterday.

Other than a rash since Sept 2, the 25-year-old shows no other symptoms of infection, said the director-general of health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. The man lives in Johor Baru but commutes daily to Singapore for work. He has been warded at a public hospital in Johor for further checks and treatment, Dr Hisham said.


Separately, Taiwan yesterday confirmed its seventh Zika case involving a 20-year-old woman from Singapore. According to a Taiwan Centres for Disease Control press release, the woman lived in Aljunied. She had travelled with friends to Japan from Aug 26 to Sept 3 and started developing a rash, joint pain and headaches on Sept 1.

She was admitted to hospital when she travelled to Taiwan last Sunday as the symptoms persisted and was tested positive for Zika a day later. It was determined that she was infected in Singapore. She currently has no symptoms, but will be quarantined till tomorrow.

None of her close contacts has shown symptoms of Zika infection.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 11, 2016, with the headline 'Malaysia bans school trips to S'pore, Philippines'. Subscribe