Malaysia wants WHO to make exit-screening mandatory

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is pushing for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to adopt a requirement for affected countries to implement exit-screening to stop the spread of the influenza A(H1N1), following concerns that a second wave of the disease could be more deadly.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that currently WHO did not make exit-screening mandatory to contain the spread of the disease and this had created tremendous pressure on other countries which were not affected by the outbreak to remain so.

The issue of exit-screening was first brought up during the Asean+3 Health Ministers Meeting in Bangkok last week, but some countries were against making it mandatory as it would have an impact on travel and trade, especially at a time when many countries are facing an economic downturn, with huge costs involved.