Malaysia confirms first sporadic case of coronavirus, indicating community spread

A couple wearing protective face masks cross a street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur, on March 6, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia has confirmed its first sporadic case of coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, where the infected person neither travelled to affected areas nor had contact with infected persons.

The occurrence of a sporadic case is an indication that the disease has spread into the community.

The Health Ministry said that the case was detected after a total of 600 samples - 138 for severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and 462 for influenza-like-illness (ILI) - were tested as at Wednesday (March 11).

The ministry said it was conducting surveillance to detect sporadic cases by testing samples from patients with Sars and ILI with no history of travelling to affected countries or contact with confirmed coronavirus cases.

"As of March 11, a total of 600 samples were tested and one sample was found to be positive for Covid-19," said health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement on Thursday.

He said investigations are ongoing to identify the source of this sporadic case.

He also advised Malaysians against travelling to countries affected by the pandemic.

Malaysians with respiratory tract infection symptoms should also not visit or travel to other parts of Malaysia during the upcoming school break, he said.

"If unwell with respiratory tract infection symptoms, do not attend events or programmes involving the public or in crowded public places, including religious activities.

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"Those with symptoms are advised to distance themselves at least 1m away from other individuals," he said.

Malaysia currently has a total of 149 confirmed coronavirus patients, with 26 of them recovered and discharged.

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