Coronavirus: Two Malaysians flown back from Wuhan test positive, bringing total to 12

Tourists walk through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, on Feb 4, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian health authorities on Wednesday (Feb 5) confirmed new cases of the coronavirus in two Malaysians who were flown back from Wuhan on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 12.

The two latest victims are a 45-year-old man and his nine-year-old son, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad told a news conference in Putrajaya.

They had been flown back on a special AirAsia flight which transported 107 Malaysians and their family members from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The two patients are currently in the isolation ward at Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, Seremban, and are in stable condition.

Meanwhile, a suspected case of the coronavirus was also reported at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) complex that houses the Petronas Twin Towers on Wednesday.

A 17-year old Canadian national was suspected to be infected with the virus at the KLCC area and taken to Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Dr Dzulkefly said that as a precaution, a team in full protective suits had been dispatched to the location at the time.

"We are not taking any chances," he said.

Meanwhile, a young Chinese national has recovered from the coronavirus infection in Malaysia, and is allowed to return home, Health Ministry director general Noor Hisham Abdullah said late on Tuesday (Feb 4).

The four-year-old is the first patient in Malaysia to have recovered from the virus, and tested negative for the disease twice.

"She is now in good health and has been allowed to return home," he said.

Health minister Dr Dzulkefly said the girl recovered without being prescribed with any special drugs.

He said, according to Malaysiakini news site, the virus is a self-limiting disease which will eventually be overcome by a healthy immune system.

"We didn't use any other drugs, HIV drugs and so on," he told the press conference.

The child was diagnosed last week and treated in an isolation ward at a hospital in Langkawi.

Malaysia had on Tuesday recorded its first case of the coronavirus in a Malaysian, who had attended a business meeting in Singapore in mid-January, which also had several international delegates present, including from Wuhan.

A 38-year-old South Korean who had a meal with the Malaysian man in Singapore was also confirmed to be infected by Korean authorities on Wednesday.

To tamp down on wild speculation over the virus, Malaysian authorities have been chasing down the spread of fake news with a journalist charged in court on Wednesday with three counts of making statements on the virus on her Facebook account which can disrupt the public peace.

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Wan Noor Hayati Wan Alias, 41, pleaded not guilty to knowingly making statements on the coronavirus with the intention to cause public fear.

She faces a maximum two years' imprisonment, or a fine, or both, if convicted.

Malaysia's Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said those who spread lies over the coronavirus on the Internet would be investigated and charged if there is sufficient evidence.

"I take very seriously the incredible volume of lies relating to the coronavirus epidemic gripping the attention of Malaysians, and, indeed, across the globe, and the AGC (Attorney-General Chambers) is determined to prevent the spread of false statements.

"Our health authorities must be allowed to deal with the problem in a calm and measured manner, without having to cope with extraneous matters, " he said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb 5).

A total of 13 investigation papers have been opened over the spread of fake news on the virus via social media sites, Deputy Inspector General of Police Mazlan Mansor said.


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