KL bars China tourists due to Sars fears
KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia stopped issuing visas on Wednesday for travellers from mainland China because of the outbreak of a deadly flu-like illness that has hit the communist country hardest.
A Foreign Ministry official said the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing has been ordered to stop issuing the visas until Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or Sars, is contained.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP that travellers from Hongkong to Malaysia were not affected by the directive.
A spokesman at Malaysian Embassy in Beijing confirmed the directive but members of government delegations and business trips can still apply for visas if they have been declared free of Sars-linked symptoms such as fever, coughing and difficulty in breathing.
More than 2,600 people have now been infected worldwide with Sars, most of them in mainland China and Hongkong. China's southern province of Guangdong has reported a total of 43 deaths and 1,206 cases of infection -- making it the hardest-hit region in an outbreak that has spread across Asia and North America.