MOH: 23 patients probed for coronavirus here, 14 of them Malaysians

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad monitors the status of the virus’ spread in Malaysia and around the world after a press conference on the novel coronavirus in Putrajaya January 25, 2020. With him is Health D-G Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. — Bernama pic
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad monitors the status of the virus’ spread in Malaysia and around the world after a press conference on the novel coronavirus in Putrajaya January 25, 2020. With him is Health D-G Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) said today that there has been a total of 23 patients under investigation (PUI) for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV) from January 10 to 12pm today, including 14 Malaysian citizens.

One of the 23 is a Jordanian, while the rest are from China, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

Four of them (two Malaysian and two Chinese) have now been put under isolation, and their lab test results will be received soon. The rest of cases have been declared as negative and the patients have been discharged.

Out of the 23 cases, there was only one positive case involving a 40-year-old Chinese national.

Three other confirmed positive cases in Malaysia were those in direct contact with the first positive case in Singapore, Dr Noor Hisham said.

All four positive cases are in stable condition and under constant monitoring in isolation wards in the country.

Also, 17 persons who were in contact with the fourth confirmed case of 2019-nCOV here were also put under quarantine for close observation while waiting for test results that were carried out.

Dr Noor Hisham also said suspected cases of 2019-nCOV will be referred to hospitals where samples will be taken and they will be monitored for at least 14 days — the period of virus incubation starting from the date of contact with the virus.

This is line with Section 14 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, where an authorised officer “may cause any person who is infected or whom he has reason to believe to be infected to be removed to a quarantine station for treatment and may detain the person at the station until he can be discharged without danger to the public”.

Any persons who do not comply with a quarantine order can be charged under Section 24(a) of the same Act and can be imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years, or a fine, or both.

The MOH also assured the public it is working closely with various agencies including the police to ensure public safety.

Dr Noor Hisham also thanked the police for their swift action in detaining a Chinese couple in Johor, who had evaded quarantine orders for their child who is suspected of having 2019-nCoV.

Dr Noor Hisham also advised Malaysians to cut all non-essential travels to China.

If such trips are unavoidable,  Dr Noor Hisham advises travellers to practise preventive measures such as applying the highest standard of hygiene by often washing hands with soap or hand sanitisers, using a face mask, avoid visiting crowded places, avoid visiting meat markets or abattoirs, and not consuming raw animal products.

In the statement, Dr Noor Hisham also urged those who showed symptoms such as difficulties of breathing, coughing and fever within 14 days of returning from their trip to quickly seek medical attention and to report their travel history to the attending physician.

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