Health DG: Malaysia’s coronavirus victim tally increases to 17, latest case is 9th patient’s relative

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the latest case was reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) today. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the latest case was reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) today. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — Malaysia now has 17 novel coronavirus (nCoV) cases with a new additional case involving a Malaysian relative of the ninth patient in the country, which means that those identified so far are 12 Chinese nationals and five Malaysians, the Health Ministry announced today.

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the latest case was reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) today.

“The newest case is a Malaysian female aged 65 years old who is the mother-in-law to the Malaysian case that was reported on February 4, 2020 (that is the ninth case),” he said in a statement this afternoon.

He said the latest patient has several existing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, partial paralysis which limits her mobility and is using a pacemaker for her heart.

He added that the woman came into direct contact with the ninth patient when they sat at the same table during several family meals in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations on January 26 to 28.

According to the Health D-G, the 65-year-old patient had said she had stayed at home from January 29 to February 4, and had complained of being unwell on February 5 with dizziness, sweating and lethargy but without fever.

Dr Noor Hisham said she was then taken to a private hospital for outpatient treatment and was allowed to return home with a follow-up appointment set for February 7.

Dr Noor Hisham added, however, that the district health office had immediately traced the 65-year-old patient after her Malaysian son-in-law or the ninth patient tested positive for coronavirus despite the latter not having travelled to China.

He further said that tests conducted on this patient and her fellow family members showed that only she tested positive for the virus infection yesterday (February 8).

“She has now been warded to the isolation ward at the Sungai Buloh Hospital and is in a stable condition. Contract tracing activities are still carried out and will be updated from time to time,” he added.

Malaysia now has 17 nCoV infection cases. Seven are Patient-Under-Investigation cases while eight are categorised as close contact cases (including the latest case involving the 65-year-old patient).

Two of the infected are Malaysians who were brought home under a humanitarian aid mission, Dr Noor Hisham said.

Of the 17 cases in Malaysia, two patients who are Chinese nationals have in the past week been discharged after a full recovery and after repeatedly testing negative for the coronavirus following treatment.

The first is a four-year-old girl (sixth patient confirmed on January 29), while the second is a 40-year-old man (fourth patient confirmed on January 24).

A third patient was this afternoon announced to have also made a full recovery and is to be discharged from the Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s isolation ward soon, after having tested negative in two consecutive tests on February 7 and yesterday.

The third patient given the all-clear is a 63-year-old male Chinese national (10th case tested positive on February 3) who had undergone symptomatic treatment with continuous monitoring and who did not require antiviral drug treatment.

Dr Noor Hisham today said that four of the 17 patients — who are family members to the first patient in Singapore who tested positive for coronavirus — are still being kept at Sungai Buloh Hospital’s isolation ward and are healthy without bearing any symptoms.

“Two of them have now received negative results in two consecutive repeat tests for 2019-nCoV that have been carried out. But the tests for two more of their family members have to be carried out again,” he said, adding that the hospital would allow them to return home if the remaining two receive negative test results for the coronavirus two times in a row.

Dr Noor Hisham assured Malaysians that the situation is still “under control” despite reports of new positive cases in Malaysia from time to time, noting that there have so far been no reports of “sustained human-to-human transmission” cases or isolated cases.  

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