Covid-19: 106 new cases recorded, bringing total to 1,624 (updated)

PETALING JAYA: A total of 106 new cases have been recorded, bringing the total to 1,624. The death toll remains at 15.

From the new cases, 43 were linked to the tabligh cluster, said the Health Ministry on Tuesday (March 24).

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also said that 64 patients were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and 24 others were on ventilators.

"From the 15 deaths, 10 deaths were linked to the tabligh cluster, while the rest had a travel history to other countries," said Dr Noor Hisham at a press conference.

He said that the latest fatality, which is case number 1,519, is a 70-year-old Malaysian citizen.

"He has a medical history of diabetes and high blood pressure, and is suspected to have had contact with case number 703 during Friday prayers.

"He had symptoms for almost a week, including fever, cough and respiratory problems for three days," said Dr Noor Hisham.

The patient was treated at Hospital Sultanah Fatimah Specialist in Muar on March 18, he said.

He was admitted to the ICU and died at 5.35am on Tuesday (March 24).

Dr Noor Hisham also told the media that tests to detect Covid-19 were conducted at government lab facilities using the Real-Time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) technique.

"The result of the rRT-PCR technique is important in determining an effective treatment for Covid-19 patients.

"As for tests using rapid test kits in the market, they only detect the amount of antibody produced by patients who get infected by Covid-19.

"The antibody will produce within five to eight days after infection. The rapid test kits that detect antibody do not detect the virus and confirm the infection.

"So the rapid test kits to detect antibody are not recommended to diagnose Covid-19," he explained.

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