KUALA LUMPUR: Three patients in Malaysia who tested positive for the novel coronavirus have been discharged from hospital after making a full recovery.
They have now been cleared for return to their home country.
The trio of Chinese nationals have been referred to the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia for further consular assistance, a spokesperson from Malaysia's Ministry of Health said in response to CNA's queries on Monday (Feb 10).
Once they land in China, they will be subject to medical screening conducted by the Chinese authorities, which will then share their latest condition with Malaysia.
The spokesperson confirmed that contact tracing for all three discharged patients have been completed. Three people linked to Case 6, 17 people linked to the Case 4 and 17 linked to Case 10 were tracked.
All were asymptomatic, the spokesperson added.
READ: Two coronavirus patients discharged from Malaysian hospitals remain in the country for now: Chinese embassy
Here is what we know about the three discharged cases:
Who: A four-year-old girl from Guangdong, China. She was discharged from Langkawi’s Sultanah Maliha Hospital on Feb 4.
Details: Together with her parents and younger sister, the girl arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Jan 20 and travelled to Langkawi on Jan 24.
Both children developed fever, cough and flu, and sought medical treatment at the hospital on Jan 26.
She tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Jan 28 and was treated in an isolation ward, while the test result was negative for her sister.
Subsequently, during the treatment phase, two clinical samples were taken and she tested negative for the virus.
She was the first novel coronavirus patient in Malaysia to make a full recovery.
The ministry said her case proved that those infected may be treated and it was possible for patients to recover completely, as reported among many other cases in China.
“Many believe that this virus would be fatal to those infected but this is not accurate,” the ministry said in a statement.
Malaysian media reported that the girl and her family flew back to Guangzhou from Kuala Lumpur on Sunday morning.
Who: A 40-year-old man from Wuhan, China. He was discharged from Johor’s Permai Hospital on Feb 8.
Details: He arrived in Johor Bahru on Jan 22 after travelling by bus from Singapore. The bus carried 17 tourists including the man’s wife and child, authorities said.
He developed a fever on Jan 23 and was warded the next day for high fever and pneumonia. His condition worsened the next day, and he required additional oxygen support.
The Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre received a report on Jan 25 that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
The hospital began treating him with antiviral medicine Kaletra, an HIV drug, on Jan 28. After eight days of treatment, the patient’s condition improved and he fully recovered.
He tested negative three times for the novel coronavirus and was discharged on Saturday evening.
Who: A 63-year-old man from Wuhan, China. He was discharged from Kuala Lumpur Hospital on Feb 9.
Details: The man arrived in Malaysia via Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Jan 18.
He was down with light fever on Jan 23 and received outpatient treatment in a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.
His case was referred to the Health Ministry and he was placed under home surveillance for 14 days.
He was sent to Kuala Lumpur Hospital as his fever persisted. He tested positive on Feb 3.
He was stable and received symptomatic treatment and continuous monitoring. He did not require antiviral medication.
Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed he tested negative for the virus on two tests conducted on Feb 7 and Feb 8.
POSSIBLE FOR CASES TO RELAPSE: HEALTH MINISTER
As of Monday, Malaysia has a total of 18 confirmed cases, of whom 12 are Chinese nationals.
When asked if a relapse was possible for patients who recovered from the coronavirus, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in a press conference on Monday that it could happen.
“We are monitoring very closely ... The is a possibility of relapse, but so far we have not seen this in any of our patients.
“Once you have contracted this, you would built up the immunity. For you to go from positive to negative means you have enough immunity to ward off the virus.
“However, if a relapse happens, within a short time frame, then it’s something new which we need to learn from. To date though, there have been no findings in that direction," he said.