The FA of Malaysia (FAM) will closely monitor the coronavirus situation as a Hong Kong academician predicted that the outbreak will peak in five major Chinese cities in April or May.
FAM general secretary Stuart Ramalingam said there has not been any directive from the national body to M-League teams as the season kicks off on Feb 28 but insisted that FAM is awaiting directives from Malaysian health officials.
Eight people have tested positive in Malaysia but the situation is under control as far as the Health Ministry is concerned.
As a precaution, certain quarters have encouraged the use of face masks in public spaces.
YB Dato Kamarudin Jaffar, Timbalan Menteri Pengangkutan mengedarkan risalah dan topeng muka kepada pengguna LRT yang berada di Stesen Bandar Tun Razak dan Salak Selatan sempena Program Info On Wheels ‘Coronavirus’. pic.twitter.com/OJCZe0F8JK
— RapidKL 03-78852585 (@MyRapidKL) January 30, 2020
“We are not taking things lightly and are monitoring the situation and perhaps will get a clearer picture closer to the start of the M-League,” said Stuart.
Stuart will attend the Asian Football Confederation emergency meeting today where Football Federation Australia, Chinese Football Association and AFC officials will decide what to do about the Asian Champions League schedule. Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua were scheduled to travel to Australia next week to take on Sydney FC and Perth Glory but the Australian government has banned arrivals from China.
Several other nations have also tightened borders following the outbreak, disrupting many other sports events.
“While the meeting will zoom in on China and the situation there, I’m sure we will get some key pointers and adapt them here.”
“For now, I believe everything in Malaysia is under control and life has to go on. The authorities are doing a fine job, so let’s not take it a step too far.”
The coronavirus has resulted in at least 425 deaths in China with over 20,000 infected worldwide as stocks in China plunged eight per cent yesterday.
Gabriel Leung, dean of Hong Kong University’s medical school, had on Monday said his team’s research showed human-to-human transmission was already happening in China. Leung, who was quoted by South China Morning Post, said the outbreak was expected to peak in April or May in five major cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou – before the number of infections would start to gradually decline in June or July.
The Education Ministry will also abide by directives from the Health Ministry as young Malaysians gear up for school sports days and zonal competitions which are usually held at the beginning of academic year.
Education Ministry Director of Sports Division Zainal Abas said school sports activities were being carried out as normal.
“We will abide by what the Health Ministry’s says. As of now, there has not been any instruction to not proceed with sports activities in schools and for face masks to be made compulsory,” Zainal said.
“Having said that, the welfare of our children and teachers are our top priority.”
The Health Ministry and Communications and Multimedia Ministry have had their hands full updating the masses about the virus while battling misinformation.
Six people have thus far been arrested for spreading misinformation about the virus.