KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Two Malaysians aboard a quarantined cruise ship in Japanese waters have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
In a statement today, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said both patients have been isolated and are being treated in Japan, but did not disclose more.
Meanwhile, he said another two Malaysians on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship are waiting for lab tests to determine if they have Covid-19.
The ship, with some 3,700 passengers and crew, has reportedly been in quarantine at Yokohama port since February 3. At least 14 of the more than 300 passengers of American nationality, and a Russian woman, have also tested positive for Covid-19.
Dr Noor Hisham noted that the Diamond Princess cruise ship is the largest cluster of Covid-19 cases outside China, with more than 400 people testing positive for the mysterious virus that has killed over 1,800 people so far.
AFP quoted Hubei province’s health commission as saying that 1,807 new cases were reported today, which means that more than 72,300 people have been affected in China. Hubei is the hardest-hit epicentre of the outbreak, which first originated in its capital city of Wuhan.
The AFP report also stated that the number of new cases outside of Hubei, which is currently under lockdown, has decreased. This means the outbreak is under control, according to China’s national health authority.
In Malaysia, 22 cases of the coronavirus have been reported, of which nine, including a Malaysian, have recovered and been discharged upon testing negative for two consecutive tests. Thirteen are still receiving treatment in hospitals, according to Dr Noor Hisham yesterday.