KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Malaysia has recorded three more confirmed cases of a new coronavirus from China, all Chinese nationals, pushing the total number of infections to seven.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said last night that three new cases have tested positive, in addition to the existing four 2019-nCoV cases that have been detected so far in Malaysia. All seven patients are from China.
Two of the new three cases are among the previous reported cases of patients-under-investigation. One is a four-year-old girl seeking treatment at Sultanah Maliha Hospital, Langkawi, and the other is a 52-year-old man who is being warded at Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Baru.
Citing findings from the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, Dr Noor Hisham said that the third new case, on the other hand, is the daughter-in-law of Singapore’s first reported case of the novel coronavirus. She is being treated in Selangor. Her age was not revealed.
“She, whose status was originally negative, decided to stay in Malaysia to take care of her two children who are seeking treatment at an isolation ward in Hospital Sungai Buloh since testing positive (for 2019-nCoV),” Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement.
As of yesterday, the total number of cases suspected to have the Wuhan-linked coronavirus in Malaysia are 78, of which 39 are Malaysians and 36 are Chinese nationals. A Jordanian, Brazilian, and Thai national are the last three cases. Seventy-four of these cases have tested negative, while one is still waiting for the outcome of lab tests.
Dr Noor Hisham added that 25 people who were in close contact with the Singaporean positive case have been identified, of which three cases tested positive, Malaysia’s first reported cases of the coronavirus. The three and the fourth latest case are still in isolation at Sungai Buloh Hospital and are in stable condition.
The three were among eight people who had close contact with the first reported case from Singapore. They comprised the man’s 65-year-old wife and their two grandsons, aged two and 11. The fourth case, a man from Wuhan, is not related to the first three cases.
“Lab tests on the 21 other contact (tracing patients) came back negative for the 2019-nCoV,” he said, adding that they have been released from isolation and observation.
An MOH official said that the ministry has ordered for contact tracing to be done by the respective state and district Health departments for the Langkawi and latest Johor Baru cases, meanwhile.
China’s National Health Commission said yesterday that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the country had risen to 132, with 26 new deaths, and another 1,459 new cases confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in China to 5,974.
Channel News Asia quoted the authority as saying that they are also monitoring more than 9,000 suspected cases of the virus, as Beijing reiterated its confidence in containing the disease, which spread from Wuhan, a central Chinese city of 11 million people.
None of the confirmed deaths to date have been outside China, but confirmation of person-to-person transmissions in Germany, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan — as opposed to a traveller with a history of travelling to China — has been reported.
The newly identified coronavirus can cause pneumonia and, like other respiratory infections, spreads between people in droplets from coughs and sneezes. It affects high-risk groups especially, including children and the elderly. No cure has been developed yet or a vaccine to stop its spread.