A 31-year-old Malaysian man working in Macau has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (KKM) on Mon (10 Feb).
KKM’s Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement today said that prior to the man’s return to Malaysia on 1 Feb, he recorded a history of travel to mainland China.
According Dr Noor Hisham, the man first exhibited symptoms of being unwell such as coughing on 3 Feb. He visited a clinic and was given medication on 4 and 6 Feb respectively.
However, he was still found to be unwell on 7 Feb, and proceeded to seek treatment at a health clinic, following which he was promptly referred to a government hospital in Banting, Selangor for further examination and treatment. He was then diagnosed with pneumonia and was subsequently admitted to the hospital.
Further examinations revealed that the man was suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and required intensive monitoring. On 9 Feb, he was tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Local authorities have begun investigations and contact tracing, and have taken greater prevention and control steps in light of the man’s case, Dr Noor Hisham added.
The man in the immediate case is the 18th person in Malaysia — and the sixth citizen of the country — to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan, a city in central mainland China.
The remaining 12 cases involve Chinese nationals, three of whom have since recovered and been discharged.
As a preventative measure in light of the outbreak, the Malaysian government had earlier on 27 Jan announced that it had halted all immigration facilities, including the issuance of visas for Chinese citizens from Wuhan and several other areas within Hubei province.
The move to suspend all immigration facilities was made following an online petition — which has been taken down at press time — urging the government to impose a blanket ban on Chinese travellers into Malaysia.
Other measures taken by the Malaysian government include creating a specific lane for incoming Chinese travellers to avoid the risk of cross-contamination, and to impose a quarantine on Malaysians evacuated from China, particularly from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Three additional cases in S’pore out as of 9 Feb, total of 43 confirmed cases as of yesterday
In Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sun (9 Feb) confirmed three additional cases of 2019 novel coronavirus infection in Singapore, bringing up the total to 43 confirmed cases so far.
All three new confirmed cases have no recent travel history to China or links to previously confirmed cases.
Of the 22 locally transmitted cases, epidemiological investigations and contact tracing have uncovered links between 15 of the cases with the three currently known clusters.
The three clusters are:
- The Life Church and Missions Singapore (146B Paya Lebar Road) —(Cases 8, 9, 31, 33 and 38).
- Yong Thai Hang (24 Cavan Road) — (Cases 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 28, 34 and 40)
- Grand Hyatt Singapore from 20 to 22 January — (Cases 30, 36 and 39)
Contact tracing is underway for the other seven locally transmitted cases, including those confirmed yesterday, to establish if they are linked to previous cases or persons with travel history to mainland China.
Of the remaining 37 who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. Six are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
516 of the suspect cases have tested negative for the novel coronavirus while 43 have tested positive as of 12pm yesterday. Test results for the remaining 98 cases are pending.
Contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing. Once identified by MOH, it will closely monitor all close contacts.
As a precautionary measure, close contacts will be quarantined for 14 days from their last exposure to the patient. In addition, all other identified contacts who have a low risk of being infected will be under active surveillance, and will be contacted daily to monitor their health status.
MOH has identified 989 close contacts as of 12pm yesterday. Of the 892 who are still in Singapore, 845 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining 47 close contacts.
On 31 Jan, the Government announced that all new visitors with recent travel history to mainland China will not be allowed to enter Singapore. These visitors will also not be allowed to transit in Singapore.
Those with Chinese passports, with the exception of Singapore permanent residents (PRs) and long-term pass holders, will also not be allowed to enter Singapore.
Since 2 Feb, all travellers arriving from mainland China who had been there in the past 14 days, as well as anyone with a China passport, were barred from entry or transit in Singapore.
The number of people infected in China — where the virus originated from —has jumped to 24,000 and millions more were ordered to stay indoors.
The confirmed death toll in mainland China rose to 490 after the hardest-hit Hubei province reported 65 more people had died.
More than 20 countries have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global health emergency, several governments to institute travel restrictions, and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.
Health officials noted that the mortality rate for the new coronavirus stood at 2.1 percent, with most victims either old or with underlying health problems.