A Malaysian health quarantine officer waits for passengers at a thermal screening point at the international arrival terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang January 21, 2020. — Reuters pic
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 6 — Malaysia has recorded its first locally transmitted novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) case after a woman came into close contact with another Malaysian man previously tested positive for the virus, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.
Dzulkefly said the patient ― a 40-year-old woman ― was the sibling of the 41-year-old man who tested positive on February 4 and had been in close contact with him when she returned to her hometown in Sungai Petani, Kedah for the Chinese New Year celebrations on January 23.
“She began experiencing fever and sore throat on February 1 and coughs on February 4.
“She sought treatment at a private clinic for her symptoms and immediately after her brother ― the index case ― tested positive, she was tracked down by the district health office,” he said in a press conference at the ministry here.
He said investigations revealed that she has no travel history to China and samples obtained from the woman confirmed the 2019-nCoV infection on February 5.
Laboratory test results on the woman's immediate family members were negative for 2019-nCoV.
The woman has been admitted to the isolation ward at Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah in Alor Setar and is currently in stable condition.
Dzulkefly also disclosed Malaysia's 14th case and confirmed infection, a 37-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan who arrived in Malaysia with four others on January 25.
He said the woman, who was here on holiday, sought treatment for light fever at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
Her case was flagged to the ministry, which then sequestered her at her home for a two-week observation period.
However, health officers visiting the woman at home found her symptoms were persisting and subsequently ordered her to be admitted to Hospital Kuala Lumpur's isolation ward for treatment on February 5.
On the same day she was admitted, the 2019-nCoV test conducted on the woman returned positive. She is in stable condition.
Separately, Dzulkefly said the ministry will continue efforts to contain the spread of the virus and intensify contact tracing and testing activities nationwide.
“We want to leave no stones unturned. The Health Ministry won't take any chances.
“It is with hope that we continue to maintain this level of containment and not escalate the situation towards mitigation efforts,” he said.
Currently there are a total of 14 2019-nCoV cases in the country. Four are Malaysians and 10 are Chinese citizens. Of the 14 cases, six were Patient-Under-Investigation (PUI) cases, six were close-contact cases and two were Malaysians brought back home via a humanitarian mission from Wuhan, China.
Commenting on the numbers of PUIs screened between January 10 to February 6, Dzulkefly said a total of 290 people ― 188 Malaysians, 95 Chinese nationals and one each from Australia, South Korea, Jordan, Brazil, Canada, Bangladesh and Thailand ― were screened.
Health authorities have cleared 277 people while seven PUIs are awaiting laboratory test results.
The disease is believed to have emerged in December in a Wuhan market that sold wild animals, and spread rapidly as people travelled for the Lunar New Year holiday in January.
The new coronavirus is from the same family of pathogens as the one that causes SARS, which killed some 800 people in 2002-2003.
The epidemic has prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a global health emergency, several governments to institute travel restrictions, and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.