Malaysia confirms first citizen case of novel coronavirus; man was in Singapore for meeting attended by Chinese delegates

Malaysia confirms first citizen case of novel coronavirus; man was in Singapore for meeting attended by Chinese delegates

Malaysia Wuhan virus
Malaysia said that it was ready to receive citizens evacuated from Wuhan, Hubei, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Photo: Facebook/Noor Hisham Abdullah)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Tuesday (Feb 4) confirmed the country's first citizen case of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected patients in the country to 10.

Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the man from Selangor is in stable condition and receiving treatment at Sungai Buloh Hospital. 

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday said the Malaysian national was in Singapore from Jan 16 to Jan 23 for a business meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel that involved Chinese nationals.

After his return to Malaysia, the 42-year-old man developed symptoms and subsequently tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Feb 3.

MOH said it has initiated epidemiological investigations and contact tracing to identify the individuals who had close contact with the cases. 

The man started showing symptoms on Jan 29, nearly a week after he returned to Malaysia, according to Malaysian authorities. 

The man's immediate family will also be put under "home surveillance" for 14 days, Dr Dzulkefly added. 

Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, MOH's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said Singapore was in touch with authorities in Malaysia.

“We have got excellent relations with the Malaysian health authorities, we have been cooperating bilaterally,” Associate Professor Mak said.

He added: “We understand that the particular risk exposure was quite some time ago … There is a possibility that many of the people that took part in this particular meeting may (not be) in Singapore anymore.”

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The other confirmed case on Tuesday in Malaysia was a 63-year-old man from Wuhan, who entered Malaysia via Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Jan 18. 

He is now in stable condition and being treated at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital. 

Another 20 suspected cases are currently awaiting further test results, Dr Dzulkefly added.

READ: Malaysia to send 18 million medical gloves to Wuhan for healthcare workers amid coronavirus outbreak

FAQ: Wuhan coronavirus and its outbreak

Malaysia previously reported a total of eight coronavirus cases as of Jan 30, all of whom were Chinese nationals.

The country's first three cases of the infection are relatives of a 66-year-old man who was confirmed by Singaporean health authorities to have tested positive for the virus. 

The three Chinese nationals had been quarantined in a hotel in Johor Bahru before they were admitted to Sungai Buloh Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. 

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Source: Agencies/zl(hm)

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