Patient 26 Linked To 114 Coronavirus Infections, 986 Tabligh Index Cases Identified

Fourth-generation Covid-19 cases have been detected in Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Patient 26 was associated with a whopping 114 coronavirus cases, health authorities said, noting that four generations of spread of the virus have been detected in Malaysia.

A fourth-generation patient is someone who was infected by a person, who had been infected by another person, who in turn had been infected by someone else.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the first Covid-19 wave in Malaysia came from Chinese citizens. The second wave comprised a few clusters.

“The main cluster is the one related to Case 26 that infected 114 patients,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference today.

Patient 26 is a high-ranking official with a government-linked company, who previously denied that he was Patient Zero in his cluster. He said he had returned to Malaysia last January 17 after visiting Shanghai, China, from January 13 to 17, and exhibited symptoms only on February 27.

Dr Noor Hisham also revealed that 986 people who attended a recent tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur from February 27 to March 1 — the largest cluster in the Covid-19 outbreak — have been identified as index cases.

These index cases could have infected their family members, who went on to infect their neighbours or friends, who then infected other people.

“So we already have the chain of infection — first-generation, second-generation, and even fourth generation have been detected,” he said.

Health authorities have screened about 8,000 participants of the tabligh event, out of which about 12 per cent, or 986 people, tested positive for Covid-19. An estimated 14,500 Malaysians and 1,500 foreigners had attended the Muslim religious gathering.

“So jemaah tabligh with symptoms, come forward to health clinics so we can do the test. Those without symptoms, also come to Klinik Kesihatan and we will do the screening and test,” Dr Noor Hisham said, noting that the infection risk of participants of the Muslim religious gathering was higher than others.

Malaysia today reported 106 new coronavirus cases, pushing the total number of cases to 1,624. The number of intensive care unit (ICU) Covid-19 patients increased to 64 from 57 yesterday. Twenty-seven patients are on ventilator support.

Fifteen deaths have been reported so far.

“If you look into the fatality [rate] globally, it’s 4.5 per cent. If 4.5 per cent, we’re expecting 45 deaths. But we have 15 deaths at the moment. So we hope we can maintain,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

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