PUTRAJAYA, Jan 25 — Three Chinese nationals who arrived in Johor from Singapore on Jan 23 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also known as the Wuhan coronavirus, and are Malaysia’s first confirmed cases.

Announcing this today, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the three people who were among eight Chinese nationals placed under quarantine recently in Johor Bahru, are the close relatives of the 66-year-old man and his son, both Chinese nationals from Wuhan, who are Singapore’s first two confirmed cases of the virus.

The three positive cases in Malaysia comprise the 65-year-old wife of the elderly man, and two male grandchildren of the couple, aged two and 11.

“They are now warded at  Hospital Sungai Buloh for further treatment and all are in a stable condition,” Dr Dzulkefly said during a press conference on the situation concerning the virus (2019-nCoV), held at the National Crisis Preparedness Response Centre here.

According to the minister, the family of six including the elderly man’s daughter-in-law who has tested negative, arrived in Singapore on Jan 20 in the company of friends comprising a family of four.  

Eight members of the group continued with their journey to Johor Bahru on Jan 23 because they did not exhibit any symptom of the virus. The 66-year-old man was confirmed as Singapore’s first confirmed case of the virus on Jan 23, followed by his son. 

Dr Dzulkefly said Singapore’s Health Ministry informed Malaysian counterparts that both men had tested positive, and also shared information about the eight individuals with whom both men had had close contact.

As a result of the information shared, the Johor Health Department was able to trace all eight and placed them under quarantine at a hotel in Johor Bahru while tests were underway.

Clinical tests undertaken at the National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK) at Hospital Sungai Buloh confirmed last night that only three of the eight individuals tested positive for coronavirus. The family of four were among the five who tested negative, and departed for China this morning.

The remaining individual who tested negative comprised the daughter-in-law of the 66-year-old Singapore patient, and is the mother of the two children who have tested positive. She is now at Hospital Sungai Buloh to care for her children.  

Dr Dzulkefly explained that the three positive cases in Malaysia who are under isolation at Hospital Sungai Buloh, are being treated there because the hospital serves as a referral centre for infectious diseases.

He said the Health Ministry was also undertaking contact tracing of other individuals who may have had contact with the three patients while they were in Johor Bahru.

 In this connection, he said there were 11 suspected coronavirus cases in Malaysia comprising individuals who had travelled to China.

Tests on 10 have come back negative while the eleventh case comprising a Malaysian, has been “isolated at Hospital Kuala Lumpur while waiting for laboratory tests”.

On the treatment for coronavirus patients, Dr Dzulkefly said there was no specific medication and treatment was undertaken with existing drugs based on symptoms experienced such as cough or fever.



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