Covid-19 alert mounts as cases jump to 149

MoH identified 1 case of SARI through Covid-19 surveillance and 2 more cases from the Humanitarian Aid Mission

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

TRACKING activities to identify the cause of Covid-19 infection in the country continue as 20 new positive cases were reported yesterday, bringing the total number of casualties to 149 (at press time).

Health Ministry (MoH) DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said close contacts for the cases are being identified for remedial measures.

Of the total, 22 cases were detected among patient under investigation of Covid-19 infections, and 124 cases of close contacts.

The MoH also identified one case of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) through Covid-19 surveillance and two more cases from the Humanitarian Aid Mission.

He also added that the 78th confirmed positive case of Covid-19 had recovered and was allowed to be discharged.

“This has resulted in 26 patients fully recovered from Covid-19 and being discharged from the ward,” he said in a statement.

To date, two patients have been reported to be in the intensive care unit with respiratory assistance. Both are, however, in stable condition.

Of the two cases, MoH said one patient is being treated at Sungai Buloh Hospital, Selangor, while the other is at Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru.

Additionally, MoH has conducted Covid-19 surveillance to detect isolated or sporadic cases in Malaysia through influenzalike-illness (ILI) and SARI patients with no travel history to affected countries or close contact with the positive cases.

As of March 9, a total of 600 samples (138 SARI and 462 ILI) were tested and it was noted that only one sample was positively detected with Covid-19 infection.

MoH also stated 66 Malaysians and family members who were deported from Wuhan, China, through the Humanitarian Aid Mission on Feb 26, will be allowed to return home, as they have completed their monitoring period.

The Wuhan deportees were given a clean bill of health with no symptoms as their repeat samples have been confirmed negative.

Meanwhile, with the increase in positive cases globally, Malaysia will be imposing entry bans on travellers from Italy, Iran and South Korea effective March 13.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the Cabinet has also decided to completely restrict foreign nationals arriving from these countries from entering Malaysia or transit at any international entrance.

“Malaysians, permanent residents and long-term pass holders arriving from Italy, Iran and Korea are subject to a 14-day observation order,” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Meanwhile, SIRIM Bhd has confirmed that one of its employees had tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

The company said in a statement that it has activated necessary public safety measures to prevent any potential risks of the virus to spread further.

It added that all employees who were in close contact with the infected staff had undergone screenings and tests, and were put under self-quarantine for 14 days.

SIRIM also assured that it has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic and usage areas in its buildings and state offices.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission also confirmed that one of its employees, currently receiving treatment at Sungai Buloh Hospital, had tested positive for Covid-19 and is in stable condition.

The Public Works Department also confirmed that one of its workers had tested positive for the virus and is currently undergoing treatment at the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Hospital.

To mitigate the risks of Covid-19, the government has launched a special fund that will provide financial assistance to those directly affected by the infection.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday RM1 million had been channelled into the fund to help Covid-19 patients and those under the 14-day quarantine.