Coronavirus: Major spike in Malaysia as 28 new cases recorded

Visitors wear face masks at the major Hindu temple and tourist attraction, Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 5, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Twenty-eight new Covid-19 cases were recorded on Friday (March 6) in Malaysia, bringing the total number to 83.

In a tweet on Friday, the Health Ministry said of the total number, 23 patients have recovered and were discharged.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the new cases include patients-under-investigation (PUI), close contacts and those involved in humanitarian aid missions to combat the effects of the disease.

"Among the patients are 65 Malaysians, 15 Chinese nationals, an American, a Japanese and an Italian," he said.

He added that the Health Ministry has also identified 956 people who came in close contact with the patients and collected test samples from them to detect the virus.

Out of this, 258 had come in close contact with Patient 26, with 18 of them testing positive.

"Seventy others tested negative but will be under quarantine for 14 days. We are waiting for the test results of the other 170 people and they have also been put under home quarantine and observation," he said.

He said the Health Ministry will continue with contact tracing to identify how Patient 26 was infected and prevent the illness from spreading further.

He said the ministry has also conducted Covid-19 surveillance to trace local and sporadic cases of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (Sari) as these patients have not travelled to affected countries or have any contact with any Covid-19 cases that have tested positive.

"So far, there have been no sporadic Covid-19 cases detected through this surveillance," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham also said the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia is at the early containment level.

"We advise the public to cooperate with the ministry's investigations in tracing anyone who came in close contact with the patients. Those identified will be contacted to help with further checks," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that under the Code of Professional Conduct under the Medical Act 1971 (Amendments 2012) and Medical Regulations, all medical practitioners must strictly ensure the confidentiality of patients' personal and medical information.

He said that the conduct applies at all times unless the information is voluntarily revealed by the patients themselves.

"Therefore, the ministry will continue to maintain the confidentiality of patients' personal and medical information," he said.

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