Tests ongoing for mum who earlier tested negative for virus

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is still trying to ascertain whether the 36-year-old mother who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was a case of human-to-human transmission.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said it cannot be concluded yet whether the Chinese national had contracted the disease in Wuhan or while she tended to her two children at the Sungai Buloh Hospital.

The mother had initially tested negative for the virus, while her 65-year-old mother-in-law and two sons aged two and 11 were found to be positive.

She decided to stay at the hospital to keep her children company.

“We do not know yet whether the mother had gotten the virus much earlier from Wuhan, as she was initially asymptomatic.

“Did she contract it due to continuous close contact with her children? This is still under observation but we can’t make any conclusion yet, ” said Dzulkefly here.

It is believed that the incubation period of the novel coronavirus is from 10 to 14 days.

He said the ministry is actively collating information based on cases in other countries to understand the new virus better.

The 36-year-old mother is the fifth person in Malaysia to be tested positive for 2019-nCoV. Her mother-in-law and two sons were the first three confirmed cases.

They are all relatives of a 66-year-old novel coronavirus patient from Wuhan who is currently being treated in Singapore.

The family was part of a group of 10 Chinese nationals from Wuhan who had flown from Guangzhou to Singapore on Jan 20, before entering Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Dzulkefly said at present, there were a total of eight confirmed 2019-nCoV cases in Malaysia, who are all China nationals.

The latest patient is the 49-year-old wife of the 52-year-old man who is the seventh patient.

On another matter, Dzulkefly said a special committee to evacuate Malaysians stranded in Wuhan has been set up.

The committee consists of the Health Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the National Disaster Management Agency, the Armed Forces as well as airline companies such as Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.

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