14 new cases of COVID-19 in Malaysia, new cluster identified

14 new cases of COVID-19 in Malaysia, new cluster identified

A boy wearing a protective face mask sits on a suitcase at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport
A boy wearing a protective face mask sits on a suitcase at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Feb 14, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

KUALA LUMPUR: Fourteen new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Malaysia on Wednesday (Mar 4), bringing the national total to 50.

Most of these new cases are close contacts or linked to Case 26, the Health Ministry said in a statement. 

Case 26 has also been identified as the source of a COVID-19 cluster, resulting in a total of 21 infections (Case 30 to Case 50). 

Explore: Real-time interactive map of all the confirmed cases reported around the world

The ministry previously said that Case 26, a 52-year-old man, visited Shanghai in mid-January. 

He had a fever and sore throat on Feb 27 and received outpatient treatment at a private hospital on the same day. He later tested positive on Feb 29 and was warded at Sungai Buloh Hospital. 

He has been identified as a director of UDA Holdings, which is a government-linked company, and a senior member in the leadership of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

The Health Ministry said one case in the cluster was Case 26's aide while 15 others attended at least one activity together with Case 26. 

The other five were close contacts of several individuals from these 16 cases. 

Woman in Malaysia wearing mask amid COVID-19 outbreak
A woman sells protective facemasks, amid fears over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 13, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan) 

"NOT A SUPER SPREADER" 

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah while speaking at a press conference on Wednesday stressed that despite the sudden increase in the outbreak, the ministry still had the situation under control.

Asked if the Health Ministry would consider case 26 a "super spreader" he said no.

"If you take the person in Korea, he infected thousands of people, and yeah he is considered a super spreader.

"Here, only 16 confirmed patients (related to case 26), so I would say extraordinary compared to others," he said.

READ: Super-spreaders- What are they and what do they do?

NO NEED TO CLOSE OFFICES

Separately, Dr Noor Hisham also said that there was no need for people to panic over the current situation.

"As I have said, the situation is under control. With early containment which is what are doing now, we are able to detect close contacts who are both positive and negative quickly.

"If we move to late containment, we would need to change our approach," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham then stressed that people should refrain from spreading news which may be false and cause unnecessary panic.

"Do not make viral materials that can cause panic among the people. If there are questions, the public are free to contact the ministry hotlines for verification," he said.

He also advised that organisations with positive cases among members of their staff need not close their offices.

"They just need to disinfect and sanitise the premises and continue practising the precautions advised by the ministry. No need to completely close," he said.

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Source: CNA/zl

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