by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK
THE Health Ministry (MoH) has confirmed 28 new positive cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) today, making the cases up to 83 than 55 recorded yesterday.
Health Ministry DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said all of the cases have been detected for further treatment.
“The close contacts of these cases are also currently undergoing identification for investigations and sampling,” he said in a statement on Friday.
The confirmation of Covid-19 positive cases has totalled up the sum to 83 cases, whereby the positive cases are among Patient-Under-Investigation (PUI) of Covid-19 infection, close contacts and humanitarian aid mission.
Out of the total, 65 are nationals, 15 from China and three of them are from the United States, Japan and Italy.
Dr Noor Hisham added that to date, a total of 956 close contacts have been identified, whereby a total of 258 close contacts to the clusters associated with case 26 has been detected and sampled.
“Of these clusters, 18 people were confirmed positive for Covid-19, 70 were negative but they were placed under the supervision and home observation order for 14 days.
“Whereas another 170 people have been detected and are still waiting for lab results, while they are placed under supervision and observation at home,” he said.
MoH is also carrying out investigations and contact activities to identify the cause of the infection in order to prevent the spread.
Out of the currently ongoing cases, 25 fall under the first generation, while 19 are under the second and only one, which is case 63 is under the third generation.
Generations indicate the infection phase, and further investigations are still currently being carried for case 48 and 60.
Meanwhile, case 26 involving UDA Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Hisham Hamdan denied contracting the outbreak from his Shanghai trip.
“I was in Shanghai attending a conference from Jan 13 to 17, and there are two issues to raise here.
“Up to that point, the only confirmed cases in China were from the city of Wuhan, which I never visited. There was no suspicion, at that time, for any concern with regards to visiting Shanghai,” he said.
He added that Shanghai’s first recorded case was on Jan 20, whereas a week after his arrival back in Malaysia at Jan 25, the MoH issued an advisory for Malaysia to avoid or postpone any travel plans to China.
“On the 30th of January, the World Health Organisation (WHO), as a result of the novel coronavirus, officially declared a ‘public health emergency of international concern.’
“This all happened well after I returned from Shanghai,” he said.
In addition, it was reported on Friday that a parishioner from a Catholic church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puchong has been confirmed positive for Covid-19.
The Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur chancellor Rev Fr Michael Chua said the group is still waiting on further details and direction from the MoH.
“We anticipate that the MoH will begin the exercise of contact tracing.
“Both the parish and the Archdiocese will offer our fullest cooperation to expedite this matter,” he said.
As positive cases are being reported, case 24 of Covid-19 in Malaysia has completed treatment and permitted for discharge from Hospital Kuala Lumpur on Friday, with all close contacts identified and thus curbing further infection.
Dr Noor Hisham said this has made 23 cases of full recovery from Covid-19 in Malaysia, and thus have all been discharged from their hospital wards.
“All investigations are still being carried out by MoH in all levels around Malaysia to handle the outbreak.
“If there are questions present or if anyone would like to seek for health advice, the public may contact the virtual health advisory or Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre hotline,” he said.
He added that according to the ministry’s current evaluation of the situation, Covid-19 is considered under control and at an early containment level.
“Therefore, the public has been requested to provide full cooperation to MoH for investigation process, close contact detection and treatment of patients.
“Any close contact with a positive case of Covid-19 will be identified by the MoH through the Health Team at the District Health Office. Any identified close contact cases will be reached out for closer examination,” he said.
Subsequently, Dr Noor Hisham said a surplus Covid-19 surveillance has been conducted to detect sporadic cases and local cases in Malaysia through influenza-like-illness and severe patients acute respiratory infection with no travel history of the affected countries or contacts with Covid-19 positive cases.
“As of March 6, 2020, a total of 430 samples have been tested and no samples were positively detected for Covid-19 infection,” he said.
In addition, through the Code of Professional Conduct under the Medical Act 1971 (Amendment 2012) and the regulations, medical practitioners need to ensure the confidentiality of information regarding patients, unless the patient chooses to disclose themselves voluntarily.