Aerial photo taken on Feb. 4, 2020 shows the interior of "Wuhan Livingroom", which is converted into a hospital to receive patients infected with the novel coronavirus, in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. (Photo: Xinhua)
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- China has been resolute and decisive in handling the novel coronavirus outbreak, a Malaysian virologist and infectious disease expert said Thursday.
Speaking at an event to raise the public's awareness on the novel coronavirus, Sazaly Abu Bakar, professor and director of the University of Malaya Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Center (TIDREC), lauded Chinese authorities' actions on containing the outbreak.
"They have done very well, because they have identified the causative agent quickly and they have made the sequences of the virus available to the entire scientific community," he told reporters after a briefing on the novel coronavirus.
"I think they have been resolute in making decisions to make sure that the disease will not spread outside the major cities that are affected now. And they have also taken decisions to make sure that the disease will not spread outside China itself," he said. "I think they have been very decisive and resolute in making decisions to contain the disease."
Sazaly, who has over 35 years of experience working on viruses, including the dengue virus, Zika virus, Nipah virus and MERS coronavirus, added that the openness of Chinese researchers in sharing the genetic sequences of the novel coronavirus allowed other countries to work on their own solutions and prepare for a potential outbreak.
As soon as they discovered the virus, Chinese scientists shared their knowledge of it with the whole scientific community, he said. "Because of that, we can now design our own diagnostics to be immediately prepared on our side."
Sazaly also said that a change in weather could slow the virus' progression, adding he believes that China will be able to overcome the outbreak. "It's just a matter of time," he said.
Speaking at the event, the Malaysian government's special envoy to China Tan Kok Wai also praised China's approach to containing the outbreak, calling for wider international cooperation.
"In an age of globalization, countries need to help each other," he said, "the whole world should stand together with the Chinese people."
Also on Thursday, Malaysian health authorities confirmed two more cases of the novel coronavirus.
One affected patient is a 40-year old Malaysian national who is the younger sister of the first Malaysian national confirmed to have contracted the virus, while the other is a Chinese tourist from Wuhan who tested positive, bringing the total cases in the country to 14.