Two Malaysian ministers quarantined after Cabinet colleague tests positive for Covid-19

Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan 9, 2020.
Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan 9, 2020.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - At least two Malaysian ministers are now self-isolating after they sat next to Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed, who tested positive for Covid-19 last Saturday (Jan 9).

Also ordered to undergo testing are Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) leaders who attended a party meeting with Datuk Seri Mustapa on the same day.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof and Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah confirmed that they had been identified as close contacts and are now in isolation as a precautionary measure.

"Throughout the Cabinet meeting, there was no physical contact. We were not only physically distanced but there was also a screen between us. Also, we were all wearing masks.

"However, as an identified close contact, I will undergo a swab test as well as remain in isolation as directed," said Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was said to be seated about seven chairs away - about 7m - from Mr Mustapa during the meeting.

Datuk Saifuddin said that while he had not experienced any symptoms, he was monitoring himself under home surveillance order.

He said he would also be undergoing a swab test and would remain in isolation until given full clearance by the Health Ministry during a second screening.

Mr Mustapa confirmed in a statement on Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid-19. He was tested as soon as he reached Kota Baru in his home state of Kelantan after travelling from the capital Kuala Lumpur,

Mr Mustapa, who had tested negative in an earlier screening on Jan 1, is reported to be in stable condition at Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II in Kota Baru.

He is the second member of Mr Muhyiddin's Cabinet to test positive for the virus, after Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri in October last year.

Meanwhile, Bersatu leaders who attended its supreme leadership council meeting on Jan 6 with Mr Mustapa were ordered to undergo Covid-19 tests immediately.

Its information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan said Mr Mustapa had attended the meeting, which was conducted according to standard operating procedures (SOP).

"However, as a preventive measure, all council members who attended the meeting have been ordered to take a Covid-19 test immediately, " he said in a statement on the party's Whatapp group .

Those involved would also have to adhere to the required SOP issued by the Health Ministry, he said.

Among those at the meeting were Mr Wan Saiful, party vice-president Ronald Kiandee, supreme council members Azmin Ali, Mr Saifuddin and Mr Redzuan.

Datuk Seri Azmin is the International Trade and Industries Minister, while Dr Kiandee is the Agriculture and Food Industries Minister.

The meeting, which was chaired by Bersatu president, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, was held in the light of calls by several Umno divisions to withdraw support for Perikatan Nasional.