Health Ministry: No new positive cases in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: There are no additional cases of individuals testing positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov), said the Health Ministry.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said as of yesterday noon, the total number of cases remain at eight, with three being patients under investigation (PUI) while five others were in the close contact category.

“The cumulative PUI cases stood at 142 people. Six individuals are still waiting for laboratory results.

“Positive contact cases of close contacts remain at 32 people.”

On Thursday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a global emergency after it reached 18 countries.

On an incident involving a patient who refused to be placed under monitoring and protection orders at a hospital in Selangor, he said the ministry had taken note of it.

“After a police report was made, the patient was successfully located and returned to the ward. Clinical samples taken on Jan 31 came back negative for the 2019-nCov.”

The patient reportedly went home on Friday after waiting at the Sungai Buloh hospital for test results. He was admitted there after he fell ill following a trip to Wuhan, China.

In a separate statement, Dr Noor Hisham said that despite the absence of travel bans or restrictions of flights from China, the ministry will continue to monitor the situation closely.

He added that any decision to ban flights from China must be made through a process that is well-informed, justified and based on every available information.

He said when WHO made the declaration, the body said there was “no reason” for any of the international travel or trade restrictions announced in recent days by several countries, such as flight suspensions, border closures, and quarantine for apparently healthy travellers.

“Countries must inform WHO about travel measures taken, as required by the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005). Countries are also cautioned against actions that promote stigma or discrimination, in line with the principles of Article 3 of the IHR.”

Malaysia, he said, had strengthened surveillance at all entry points before WHO’s declaration.

“Among the encouraging measures we have taken over and above the WHO recommendation is to perform throat swabs on asymptomatic individuals who have had close contacts with positive cases.”

According to him, there are currently 54 thermal scanners at 35 international entry points with high traveller loads, adding that 25 more scanners are expected to be added at high priority areas.

Dr Noor Hisham added that Malaysia is leading the Asean Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) network, actively engaging Asean member states on situation updates and data sharing to promote detection response and communication to prevent the spread of the virus.

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