Patient 26 Sparks Coronavirus Cluster, Malaysia Cases Hit 50

Case 26, said to be a senior Khazanah staff, attended five public activities.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Malaysia’s second wave of the novel coronavirus includes a cluster linked to Patient 26 who infected 16 people. Some among the 16 then infected another five people.

Case 26 — said to be a senior Khazanah Nasional Berhad employee who previously travelled to Shanghai, China — went to his office last February 27 and attended five other public activities on February 21, February 24, and February 27, most of which were events or meetings, according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement.

Out of the 16 first-generation (or direct) Covid-19 infections linked to Patient 26, one was his officer, while the remaining 15 had attended functions with him; some attended more than one event with Patient 26.

As a result, Patient 26 possibly exposed 215 close contacts, as identified by health authorities through contact tracing. Nineteen have tested negative so far, while the remaining 180 are waiting for the results of lab tests.

Malaysia has recorded 14 new cases of the novel coronavirus as of 12pm today, up from 36 previously, bringing the total number of cases to 50. During the second Covid-19 wave from February 27 until March 4, 28 cases were confirmed (cases 23 to 50).

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the cluster linked to Patient 26 is 21 (comprising 16 first-generation and five second-generation infections). These make up cases 30 to 50.

Some of the “activities” that the 26th case attended and the number as well as testing status of close contact cases are as follows:

  • First activity (Event/ Meeting on February 21) – Eight close contact cases attended, six of which have tested positive for Covid-19. The remaining two tested negative.
  • Second activity (Event / Meeting on February 21) – Ten close contact cases attended, four of which have tested positive for Covid-19. Two tested negative, and four more are still awaiting lab results.
  • Third activity (Event/ Meeting on February 24) – Fifteen close contact cases attended, 10 of which have tested positive for Covid-19. Four tested negative, and one more is still awaiting lab results.
  • Fourth activity (Event/ Meeting on February 27) – Twenty-one close contact cases attended, one of which tested positive for Covid-19. Eleven tested negative, and nine more are still awaiting lab results.
  • Fifth activity (Location on February 27) – Seven close contact cases attended, one of which tested positive for Covid-19. Six tested negative.

This is the second cluster of cases for Malaysia. Twenty-eight cases were reported from February 27 onwards, following a 11-day period where no cases were recorded. Prior to that, Malaysia recorded 22 cases, all of which have recovered.

Coronavirus cluster linked to Patient 26. Graphic from Ministry of Health.

The identities of the patients have not been disclosed by MOH, save for their age, gender, and nationality.

Dr Noor Hisham also today could not confirm if a board director of Felcra tested positive for Covid-19, after the company said this was true.

MOH, meanwhile, hopes that all parties keep calm and work together with the ministry by giving accurate information when contact tracing efforts are underway.

MOH also advises organisations that report positive cases of Covid-19 not to close their offices “for whatever reason”, Dr Noor Hisham said.

This is because the ministry’s view is that cleaning work and disinfection of their premises is more than enough to prevent further spread of the virus.

“At the same time, all parties are urged not to viralise information that can lead to worry among the public,” Dr Noor Hisham said, adding that the situation remains under control.

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