KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia confirmed its first sporadic case of Covid-19 yesterday, signalling the first time the coronavirus was detected in an isolated and random manner in the community.
A sporadic case means the infected person did not have any travel history to the affected countries or contact with an infected person.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this case was detected after the Health Ministry conducted surveillance on 600 samples taken from people with influenza-like ilness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).
He said the ministry collected 600 samples — 138 with SARI and 462 with ILI — up to Monday. Yesterday, tests confirmed that one of those samples was infected with Covid-19.
“Investigation is ongoing to identify the cause of this sporadic infection,” he said.
When asked by the New Straits Times if this warranted Malaysia to upgrade its nationwide response mechanism to “Heightened Risk” for the outbreak, Dr Noor Hisham said: “Let us investigate this case first before we collectively make a decision.”
On Feb 7, Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level from “Yellow” to “Orange” following four sporadic cases of the virus in the republic.
Malaysia yesterday recorded 20 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the tally to 149.
Of those 149 cases, 22 of them were detected among persons under investigation (PUI), 124 from close contacts, two others were part of humanitarian aid missions and one was a person with SARI.
“The ministry is identifying close contacts of these cases through contact tracing. This process will continue until the cause of the infection is identified,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
He advised attendees of a four-day “tabligh” (religious event) gathering held from Feb 27 until March 1 at the Masjid Seri Petaling, Selangor who had symptoms of the illness to get themselves tested for Covid-19.
He said this was needed after a Brunei citizen was said to have contracted the virus after attending the gathering.
He said the International Health Regulations Focal Point in Malaysia was notified of this from its counterpart in Brunei.
“Based on preliminary information, the gathering was attended by some 10,000 people from several countries, including more than 5,000 Malaysians. All state Health Departments are investigating this in their states.
“The ministry calls on all who attended the gathering to cooperate with health officials to ensure the infection does not continue to spread.
“As for those who do not show symptoms, they are advised to practise social distancing by keeping themselves at least 1m away from others for 14 days from the date of attending the gathering.”
He said the ministry urged for mass gatherings to be postponed.
Up to yesterday, 26 patients out of the 149 who tested positive had recovered and were discharged, with the latest being Case 78.
On the 66 Malaysians and their family members who were evacuated from Wuhan via Malaysia’s humanitarian aid mission on Feb 26, he said they were allowed to return home after undergoing quarantine at the Higher Education Leadership Academy in Bandar Enstek, Nilai.
All 66 of them tested negative for Covid-19.
- Date Thu, 12 Mar 2020
- Outbreak Covid-19
- Category National
- View 246