KUALA LUMPUR, 2 SEPTEMBER 2020 - Health tourism contributes a lot to the economy. In fact, Malaysia is the preferred destination for tourists from Asia and around the world.
However, with the current COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world and the vaccine not being found yet, we might need to temporarily forgo this sector even though it can help our nation’s economy to be on track again.
The government needs to be stringent in restricting the admission of health tourists to this country to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The restriction will not last forever but will be until the pandemic that has hit the world and our country can be controlled.
To date, Malaysia has managed to curb the COVID-19 very well, but we should not be laid back and satisfied and loosen the SOPs. Letting tourists enter the country for medical purposes is not a good move either.
The government needs to be stricter and efficient in controlling this pandemic since the COVID-19 virus can mutate and be asymptomatic. Those infected may be a danger to others as they might spread it without noticing.
Medical practitioners and providers in this country need to understand the safety risks if this issue prolongs to the point that it exposes the country to the uncontrollable spread of the virus.
The new cluster that exists recently is because of the admission of certain individuals right after the country opened its borders. So, when a group of tourists from Indonesia reported having entered the country for medical purposes, clearly it is worrying.
We understand the economic effects that hit the medical practitioners as well as the tourism industry. Nevertheless, it is vital to note that COVID-19 is a universal issue that involves the nation’s safety.
The importance of the nation’s safety surpasses its economic problems and other problems. Medical practitioners can think about the implementation of telemedicine, cyber methods and others. Yes, it might not be easy but there is enough space to think about it.
The effort to curb the spread of this virus is not only on the shoulder of the government, the Ministry of Health (MoH) or even the police. Instead, the public also plays an important role so that our country does not become a “pandemic hole” like other countries.
Deputy Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UCSI University
Professor Dr Mustafa Ali Mohd