20 new Covid-19 cases bring country’s tally to 149

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 12, 2020.
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KUALA LUMPUR: There are 20 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, bringing the tally to 149, the health ministry (MoH) announced yesterday.

In the meantime, patient No 78 has fully recovered and has been discharged from the hospital. This brings the total number of cured cases to 26.

The close contacts of these cases as well as the sources of the infections are being identified, MoH said in a statement. Of the 149 cases, 22 were detected among Patients-Under-Investigation (PUIs) for Covid-19 infection, 124 cases were from close contacts; one case was from a severe acute respiratory infection (Sari) via the Covid-19 case involving a surgeon; and two more cases were from humanitarian missions.

To date, two cases have been reported to the intensive care unit and are in need of assistance from breathing apparatus, but are both in stable condition. One of the cases is being treated at Hospital Sungai Buloh, while the other case was treated at Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Johor Baru.

The MoH also noted that all 66 Malaysians and family members that were flown home from Wuhan, China on a Humanitarian Aid Mission on Feb 26, 2020 were allowed to return to their homes after the end of the monitoring period at the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT), as all had no symptoms and test results have been confirmed negative.

On the Covid-19 virus case in Brunei, the MoH said the International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point (FP) Brunei had informed IHR FP Malaysia of the confirmed case detected in the country. The case had attended a religious missionary session at the Masjid Seri Petaling, Selangor, between Feb 27 and March 1. “Based on the preliminary information, this religious missionary session involved an estimated 10,000 people from several countries,” said the MoH, adding that the number of participants from Malaysia amounted to more than 5,000.

All state health departments are investigating if people from their respective states had attended the session, said the MoH.

Bernama reported that Malaysia is imposing entry bans on travellers from Italy, Iran and South Korea, effective tomorrow following the Covid-19 outbreak in these countries.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the decision was made at the first Cabinet meeting of the Perikatan Nasional government yesterday after taking into account the current status of the Covid-19 virus transmission.

The ban also applies to other foreigners visiting these three countries or transiting at any entry point,” he said.