Covid-19: Italy-trip cluster widens, with 37 confirmed infections

Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, Italy (Photo by Reuters)

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 5): The Ministry of Health has detected a cluster of 37 confirmed Covid-19 infections – five of whom have died – whose source of infection is an individual who had travelled to Italy (patient No. 1580) recently.

One of those infected is now in critical condition and requires respiratory assistance in intensive care, said MoH director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement today.

This cluster has reached a third-generation of infections, he said, and urged the public to be honest if they have had close contact with those who tested positive for the virus, had travelled abroad previously, or had attended large gatherings that the ministry had previously linked to the spread of the coronavirus. 

As at noon today, the pandemic has spread to 180 countries around the world, he said. Therefore, there is certainly a risk of Covid-19 cases being imported into the country, he added.

It was previously reported that a woman from Kuching, Sarawak, had tested positive for the coronavirus when she returned from her trip to Italy. Among the first people to be infected by this asymptomatic patient were her family and relatives.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham issued a reminder that Malaysians returning from overseas are now required to be placed in designated quarantine stations, in line with the movement control order or MCO.

"At the country's entry point, they will undergo a health screening for fever and Covid-19 symptoms. The Covid-19 detection test will be conducted and they will be monitored for 14 days at the quarantine station," he said. 

He added that over 4,000 Malaysians have been placed across 71 quarantine stations throughout the country. 

Note that beginning April 3, Malaysians returning from abroad will be brought straight from the airport to quarantine centres, to undergo their compulsory 14-day quarantine at the designated centres.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said the new procedure applies to all returning Malaysians, regardless of whether their flight was a chartered or commercial one, to prevent Covid-19 from further spreading in the country.

Read also: 179 new Covid-19 cases in M'sia, tally rises to 3,662

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