PUTRAJAYA, Feb 10 — Malaysia has recorded 18 positive cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus  so far, including three who have fully recovered, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

He said the latest case involved a 31-year-old Malaysian man who worked in Macau and had returned to Malaysia on Feb 1.

All patients undergoing treatment namely nine Chinese nationals and six locals were in stable condition, he told a press conference to update on the coronavirus situation in Malaysia, here today.

He stressed that the coronavirus situation in Malaysia is still under control.

On the latest case, he said 22 people the man had been in close contact with had been traced to contain spread of infection.

Three of them were family members, namely his mother, a sibling and a relative while the remaining 19 were health personnel, he said, adding that samples had been taken from the family members for testing.

“We are still in the process of collecting samples from the 19 health personnel who are believed to have treated him at the early stage without personal bio-hazard protection as had been recommended,” he said.

Asked whether Malaysia will be raising the alert level as has been done by Singapore, Dzulkefly said Malaysia does not use the same methodology.

He said Malaysia followed certain phases before alerts are issued, namely starting with a warning phase, early containment, final containment before mitigation measures were adopted.

He said Malaysia is still at the early containment phase currently. 

On Friday, Singapore raised its public health alert regarding the coronavirus situation in the city-state from yellow to orange, the second highest level, after reporting three new cases that were not linked to previous infections or travel to China, bringing cumulative cases in the neighbour to 43.

Orange level was also declared in the republic at the height of the SARS outbreak in 2003.

The 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak which started in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China has since spread around the globe, leaving in its wake at least 900 people dead, two of them outside mainland China, in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

The World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency on Jan 30.

The SARS outbreak, which also originated in China, killed 774 people worldwide.



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