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05 Mar 2020 | 12:06 PM UTC

Malaysia: Sarawak state implements entry restrictions amid COVID-19 outbreak March 4 /update 3

Malaysia News Alert

Sarawak state implements entry restrictions amid COVID-19 outbreak March 4; further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks

TIMEFRAME expected from 3/5/2020, 12:00 AM until 4/1/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kuala_Lumpur). COUNTRY/REGION Malaysia

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On Wednesday, March 4, authorities announced that Sarawak state would prohibit entry to all non-residents who had spent time in or transferred through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, South Korea, Iran, or Italy up to 14 days before their arrival in Sarawak. These measures have been implimented in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Malaysian non-residents of Sarawak are strongly advised not to visit the state if they have spent time in or transferred through the aforementioned countries and territories in the 14 days before their arrival in Sarawak. Sarawak residents who have visited the these countries and territories in the last 14 days will undergo mandatory home quarantine for 14 days.

Malaysia has reported 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, March 5, none of whom have died, and 22 of whom have recovered.

Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.


Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo Island have retained special immigration powers over their territory relative to the Malaysian central government since the 1963 Malaysia Agreement between the UK and the Federation of Malaya.

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.  
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.  
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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