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Malaysia confirms new case of Wuhan virus; total of 8 infected

Malaysia confirms new case of Wuhan virus; total of 8 infected

Malaysia has reported multiple confirmed cases of the flu-like virus which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan. (Photo: AFP/MOHD RASFAN)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Thursday (Jan 30) confirmed a new Wuhan virus case, bringing the total number of people infected in the country to eight.

All eight cases are Chinese nationals, Malaysia's Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

The new case is a 49-year-old woman who was admitted to a hospital in Johor Bahru, he said, adding that she was in a stable condition. Her husband had earlier tested positive for the virus in Malaysia.

In a statement, Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 89 people have been tested for the Wuhan virus in Malaysia between Jan 10 and Jan 29. 

The statement added that 44 of those tested are Malaysians, of which 41 were tested negative. The results for three others are pending.

There was one person each from Jordan, Brazil, and Thailand who were tested, the statement said. All three were also tested negative.

The other 44 persons who were tested are from China.

Malaysia confirmed its first cases of the coronavirus over the last weekend. The three related to a 66-year-old man who was the first person in Singapore to have tested positive for the virus.

The country has stepped up screening checks at all entry points and temporarily suspended the granting of visas for all residents from China's Hubei province.

Fourteen travellers from Wuhan were turned away at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Tuesday. 

Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. (File photo: Bernama)

“Documents reviewed by immigration officials at KLIA found that the 14 people were from Wuhan, China ... the immigration department (then) issued a 'Not To Land' notice to all of the individuals who were subsequently deported," said Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. 

READ: Malaysia to negotiate with China for return of its citizens from Wuhan, says PM Mahathir

In a statement later in the day, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said a new government taskforce has been set up to expedite the process of transporting Malaysian citizens back home.

He said that the ministry will work with Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other government agencies as well as AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines. 

According to Malaysia’s ambassador to China, Mr Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, a total of 82 Malaysians have been identified in and around Wuhan.

Putrajaya is seeking cooperation from Beijing to bring them home, the foreign ministry added.

Upon their return to Malaysia, they will be isolated, blood samples will be taken and they will be monitored for 14 days, said Dr Noor Hisham's statement. They will be referred to a hospital if they show any symptoms, he added.

The new coronavirus, which started in Wuhan in China's Hubei province, has spread to more than 10 other countries including as far as the United States, France and Australia.

In China, at least 170 people have died from the disease and more than 7,700 people have been infected with the virus.

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Source: CNA/bernama/nc/nr


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