KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — Malaysia reported today its first coronavirus cases involving three Chinese nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of the mysterious SARS-like outbreak in China.
The three — a 65-year-old woman, and her two 11-year-old and two-year-old grandsons — had entered Johor and did not have a fever or show signs of infection, but clinical tests later showed they tested positive for the virus provisionally called 2019-nCoV.
The woman was the wife of a 66-year-old Wuhan resident who was confirmed in Singapore to be infected with 2019-nCoV. The two infected minors are their grandchildren.
“They have been hospitalised at Sungai Buloh Hospital to receive further treatment and all of them are in stable condition,” Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in a statement.
“The other contacts detected tested negative for 2019-nCoV,” he added, referring to five other Chinese nationals in Johor who had been in contact with the 66-year-old coronavirus patient in Singapore.
Besides the three confirmed cases of the new strain of coronavirus in Malaysia, the Health Ministry’s national Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) has received nine reports of suspected cases, but all tested negative.
Rapid response and rapid assessment teams have been set up to trace contacts of suspected patients.
All health workers have also been reminded to wear personal protective equipment, even as China’s CGTN reported that a frontline doctor at Hubei Xinhua Hospital has died from the novel coronavirus at age 62.
The 2019-nCoV death toll has climbed to 41, all in China, including 39 in Hubei province. Nearly 1,300 cases have been confirmed in China, including 237 in critical condition, according to China’s People’s Daily.
The potentially deadly virus from the same family of viruses as SARS, which can lead to pneumonia, has been detected in other countries, including Australia, France, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and the United States.