Wuhan virus: Malaysia says 3 new cases of virus infection, bringing total to 7

An aviation officer wearing a mask at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, on Jan 21, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia's health ministry said on Wednesday (Jan 29) three more people had been infected with the new coronavirus, taking the total to seven, all of whom are Chinese nationals.

The new cases involve a four-year-old girl, a 52-year-old man and the mother of two children confirmed infected earlier, the ministry said in a statement.

The authorities said the mother had initially tested negative and had stayed in Malaysia to take care of her children - grandsons of a 66-year-old man who tested positive in Singapore for the coronavirus last week.

Separately, Malaysia's communications regulator said it has detained one person accused of spreading fake news on the coronavirus. The person was arrested over a Facebook post that contained false information on the outbreak, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said.

Malaysia has beefed up health checks at all its international entry points, with a separate lane for China visitors at the Johor side of the Tuas immigration checkpoint in its bid to stop the spread of the Wuhan virus, a top official said on Tuesday.

The country has placed thermal scanners at these entry points to detect travellers with fever, said Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, director-general of the Health Ministry, who visited the Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar (KSAB) checkpoint at the Second Link.

Malaysia has a total of 64 international gateways, comprising checkpoints on land, at international airports and in major ports.

Datuk Noor Hisham said visitors suspected of having a viral infection would be checked at health screening rooms and later referred to a medical team handling infectious diseases at Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Baru for further investigations.

Malaysia on Monday banned the entry of Chinese nationals from Hubei province, where the novel coronavirus emerged from its capital city Wuhan.

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The Malaysian government has been under pressure to ban the entry of all Chinese nationals amid fears of the spreading virus, with nearly 400,000 people signing an online petition over the weekend supporting the call.

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