Malaysia confirms first citizen with coronavirus: Man was in S'pore for meeting with China colleagues last month

A nurse checks the temperature of a visitor as part of the coronavirus screening procedure at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 3, 2020.
A nurse checks the temperature of a visitor as part of the coronavirus screening procedure at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 3, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian health authorities on Tuesday (Feb 4) confirmed the first citizen to be infected with the coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 10. The other new case announced on Tuesday was a Chinese national from Wuhan who has been in Malaysia since Jan 18.

The Malaysian man had travelled to Singapore for a meeting from Jan 16 to 23 with colleagues from China - including one from Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic.

Malaysia's Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the 41-year-old man is from Selangor state.

“He returned to Malaysia on Jan 23, and on Jan 29 he received treatment at a private hospital because of fever and cough,” Dr Dzulkefly told a news conference.

He was referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital, at the edge of Kuala Lumpur, on Feb 2 and was admitted to the isolation ward. He was confirmed positive for the virus on Monday.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health said in a press release issued Tuesday that it has initiated epidemiological investigations and contact tracing to identify individuals who had close contact with the man.

The man had stayed at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

The hotel said it had taken steps to safeguard the safety and well-being of its guests after being informed of the case by Singapore’s MOH on Tuesday.

“We are taking proactive measures ... including disinfecting public areas, restaurants, meeting spaces, and rooms throughout the hotel,” said the hotel’s manager Parveen Kumar in a statement.

 
 
 

The other patient is a 63-year-old man from Wuhan, China who had arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Jan 18.

He had a fever on Jan 23 and sought outpatient treatment at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur, and was placed under home surveillance for 14 days.

On Feb 2, he was still experiencing fever, and he was admitted into Kuala Lumpur Hospital. He tested positive for the virus on Feb 3.

With the two new cases, Malaysia has now recorded a total of 10 cases of coronavirus patients to date. Nine are China citizens.

Referring to the infected Malaysian, Dr Dzulkefly said his ministry has contacted its Singapore counterpart to begin contact tracing. 

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said 147 Chinese citizens from Wuhan city and the Hubei province had been denied entry into Malaysia, between Jan 27 and Feb 3, due to concerns over the spread of the virus.

“However, Malaysia is not barring all Chinese arrivals that come here but only those that are from Wuhan city or Hubei province,” said Tan Sri Muhyiddin at a press conference, as quoted by Malay Mail online news.

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