14 new coronavirus cases in Malaysia

Passengers wearing protective masks wait for a commuter train at a station, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 3, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia now has 50 coronavirus cases, with 14 new infections reported on Wednesday (March 4). This is the largest single-day increase, a day after the previous record high of seven.

The country's Health Ministry on Wednesday revealed that most of the new cases could be traced back to Patient 26, who has been identified as Datuk Hisham Hamdan, a senior member of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

"According to investigations so far, there have been 215 close-contact situations with the patient (Patient 26).

"From those cases, 16 have been tested positive, 19 negative, and 180 awaiting results," the ministry said in a statement.

To date, 22 patients have recovered, while 28 are still being treated at Sungai Buloh Hospital on the outskirts of the capital and at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, reportedly in stable condition.

Health authorities found that all seven cases on Tuesday were traceable to Mr Hisham.

Malaysia detected its first coronavirus patients - four China tourists who had entered the country via Johor Baru from Singapore - on Jan 25.

The newly formed Perikatan Nasional (PN) governing coalition also had a scare after it emerged that someone at the celebratory gathering at Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's home over the weekend - after the King named him the next prime minister - had come into contact with Mr Hisham.

A video circulating online of the scene at Mr Muhyiddin's home shows many of those present hugging one another as they emerged victorious from a week of political chaos.

There was concern through much of Monday that Mr Muhyiddin and a host of potential ministers might have been exposed to the virus after it emerged that Datuk Seri Redzuan Yusof had attended a ministry function last Thursday with Mr Hisham, who was later confirmed to have the virus.

Mr Redzuan, formerly the entrepreneur development minister in the collapsed Pakatan Harapan government, is from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia that is now with the PN coalition.

However, Mr Redzuan tested negative for the virus. His former deputy, Datuk Hatta Ramli, who also attended the same appreciation dinner hosted by the ministry also tested negative.

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