Malaysia tracking 5,000 people possibly exposed to coronavirus at religious event

A quarantine centre at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Malaysian authorities are tracking around 5,000 citizens across the country believed to have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus at a religious event on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
A quarantine centre at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Malaysian authorities are tracking around 5,000 citizens across the country believed to have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus at a religious event on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysian authorities are tracking around 5,000 citizens across the country believed to have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus at a religious event on the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday (March 11).

The contact tracing was initiated after neighbouring Brunei reported its first case of coronavirus infection on Tuesday, a 53-year-old man who had attended the same event at a mosque between Feb 27 and March 1, the ministry said in a statement.

"Based on preliminary information, the religious event involved an estimated 10,000 people from several countries including Malaysia," the ministry's secretary-general, Mr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said.

"The Health Ministry urges all who had attended the event to cooperate with health officials to ensure Covid-19 does not continue to spread in their communities."

Malaysia reported 20 new cases of coronavirus infection on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative tally to 149.

The new Cabinet under Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, which held its first meeting earlier the same day, imposed an entry ban on all Iranian, Italian and South Korean nationals due to the coronavirus outbreak in those three countries.

Malaysians returning from Iran, Italy and South Korea would be quarantined for 14 days, Health Minister Adham Baba said.