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Covid-19: Five more cases linked to Case 26

Published
Modified 5 Mar 2020, 3:47 pm

CORONAVIRUS | The Health Ministry has identified five more cases of Covid-19 in the country, bringing the total to 55 as of noon today.

All five cases are linked to a local transmission cluster involving Case 26.

“Thus, to date, the total number of positive cases from this cluster is 26. Investigations and contact tracing for this cluster is still ongoing,” said health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement this evening.

Media reports have previously identified the affected individual as a senior member of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and UDA Holdings Bhd.

The particulars of the new cases are as follows:

Case 51 involves a child to Case 32, who in turn had met Case 26 in meetings or events on Feb 21 and 24.

Case 52 involves a driver to Case 33, who in turn had met Case 26 in meetings or events on Feb 21 and 24. The meeting on Feb 21 was different from the meeting attended by Case 32.

Case 53 involves a staff member to Case 33.

Case 54 had attended a meeting with patients in Case 26, Case 33 and several others.

Case 55 is a driver at one of the offices where Case 26 works.

Overall, the Health Ministry has identified 258 close contacts of Case 26. Of these, 18 have tested positive, 29 have tested negative and 211 tests are still pending. Most of the pending tests (192 patients under investigation) are officemates with Case 26.

In light of the second wave of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia, Noor Hisham said the Covid-19 Cluster Working Committee has decided to take additional steps to curtail the spread of the disease.

Among others, surgical masks would be gazetted as a controlled item under the Control of Supplies (Prohibition on Exports) Regulations 2020 to ensure adequate domestic supply.

Foreigners who have visited Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna in Italy; Hokkaido in Japan, and; Tehran, Qom, and Gilan in Iran, will be barred from entering Malaysia if they were in these Covid-19 affected areas in the 14 days prior.

Malaysians are advised to avoid travelling these areas.

“For Malaysians in these cities or regions, they are advised to take precautionary measures by improving personal hygiene and always obey instructions issued by local authorities.

“Malaysians abroad are also encouraged to register themselves with the nearest Malaysian embassy,” Noor Hisham said.

At a press conference broadcasted live on Facebook today, Noor Hisham added that the ministry will not impose a ban on public events for the time being.

He said Malaysia is still in an ‘early containment’ phase in combatting the spread of Covid-19 since the disease is still not widespread in the country, though the government may shift strategies if it moves into the ‘late containment’ stage.

He said event organisers are free to cancel events if they deem it necessary.

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham also reiterated his advice that organisations that have Covid-19 cases amongst their staff needn't close their offices.

Instead, it is sufficient they clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.

“Staff identified by the Health Ministry as close contacts will undergo health screenings.

“The ministry hopes those identified will stay calm and cooperate by providing accurate information when contacted or identified as a close contact,” he said.

Previously, former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said a close contact is a person who has spent a prolonged period of time within two metres of a person confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19.

Health Ministry guidelines published on Feb 26 stipulate that a close contact is also defined as a person living in the same household as a confirmed Covid-19 patient, have travelled together with a confirmed patient, or works together in the same proximity or in the same classroom as a confirmed patient.

Healthcare workers who have come into contact with a Covid-19 patient without the appropriate protective equipment are also considered close contacts.

In light of the second wave of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia, Noor Hisham said the Covid-19 Cluster Working Committee has decided to take additional steps to curtail the spread of the disease.

Among others, surgical masks would be gazetted as a controlled item under the Control of Supplies (Prohibition on Exports) Regulations 2020 to ensure adequate domestic supply.

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