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Two Malaysians evacuated from Wuhan tested positive for novel coronavirus

Two Malaysians evacuated from Wuhan tested positive for novel coronavirus

Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad (middle) fielding questions from journalists on Feb 5, 2020. (Screengrab: Facebook/Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia)

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Malaysians evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan have been tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 12.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in a press conference on Wednesday (Feb 5) that the 45-year-old man and his nine-year-old son are now being treated in an isolation ward at Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

“They were asymptomatic (upon arrival in Malaysia), but in the end tested positive,” he said.

On Tuesday, a total of 107 Malaysian citizens and their non-Malaysian spouses and children were brought back to Kuala Lumpur from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, on a special flight.

Upon arrival, two of the passengers who displayed symptoms were immediately sent to the hospital. They were later tested negative, Dr Dzulkefly said.

Malaysians arriving home from Wuhan on Feb 4, 2020. (Photo: Bernama)

Following health screening at the Air Disaster Unit of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the rest of the 105 individuals - including the father-and-son duo - were ferried to a surveillance centre at Nilai, Negeri Sembilan to be quarantined for 14 days.

The two had originally shown no symptoms, but were later confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus, he explained.

“They are now in a stable condition,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Dzulkefly said a hazmat team was deployed to Kuala Lumpur City Centre, where the Petronas Twin Towers are located, to bring a Canadian lady to a hospital to check for possible coronavirus infection. 

While her actual illness was not ascertained yet, the minister said the immediate thing that came to mind was nCoV. 

“That’s why we sent a full hazmat team. We are not taking any chances. We will take all measures. Better be safe than sorry,” he said. 

READ: Four-year-old coronavirus patient in Malaysia discharged from hospital


Providing further updates on the first Malaysian who was infected with the coronavirus, Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry had identified 74 individuals who have had close contact with the patient.

“Thirty-five of them had been tracked and their samples were taken. Subsequently, they will immediately undergo home surveillance.

“The process of contact tracing is still undergoing ... We leave no stone unturned,” the minister said.

On Tuesday, the authorities said the Malaysian man attended a conference in Singapore from Jan 16 to Jan 23 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel that involved Chinese nationals.

Responding to CNA's queries, the health ministry said out of the 74, nine were his family members. Twenty-six of the 35 close contacts tested negative for coronavirus, while the remaining 9 were awaiting results.  

His house has also been disinfected, it said. 

He does not have a travel history to China, the ministry added. 

On Wednesday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said a 38-year-old South Korean man, who had come into contact with the Malaysian in Singapore, had also been infected.

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Source: CNA/tx(aw)


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