PUTRAJAYA, Feb 12 — The recovery rate for patients infected by the novel coronavirus is high, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said the Health Ministry’s Geographical Information System found that 3,496 out of 40,555, or 8.6 per cent, of the cases tested positive for the virus had recovered, while only 910 deaths were recorded up to Monday.
With the mortality rate standing at 2.2 per cent, the recovery rate was four times higher, he said.
For comparison, the mortality rate during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 was 9.6 per cent.
The SARS outbreak, which like the novel coronavirus also originated in China, infected 8,098 people and claimed 774 lives worldwide,
Out of the total number of coronavirus patients who recovered, the bulk were in China, numbering 3,468 cases, 10 in Thailand, two in Singapore, three in Malaysia and the rest in other countries.
“This should be seen as a positive development not only for Malaysia, but for the whole world. It’s good news that the coronavirus is not a death-sentence virus,” the minister said in an interview at his office here yesterday.
The three coronavirus patients who had recovered in Malaysia up to yesterday were all Chinese nationals, namely two men aged 63 and 40 respectively, and a 4-year-old girl.
On whether the country’s hot weather could increase the spread of the infection, Dr Dzulkefly said it was unlikely to have any impact.
Instead, he expected the infection rate to slow down, as the virus was seen to be more active in cold weather.
“Like in China, the virus spreads in winter and most viruses with pneumonia-like diseases are more active in winter.
“In hot weather, we expect not much of an effect because the virus is killed at high temperatures (when the virus is outside the body or on the surface of an object).”