Malaysia confirms first cases of coronavirus infection


Posted at Jan 25 2020 05:32 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2020 05:34 PM

Passengers pass a banner about Wuhan Pneumonia at a thermal screening point in the international arrival terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. Reuters/File

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia on Saturday said it had confirmed three cases of coronavirus infection, the first in the Southeast Asian country.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the three individuals infected were Chinese nationals and related to the 66-year-old man that was confirmed by Singapore health authorities to have tested positive for the virus.

The newly-identified coronavirus can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases. It is still too early to know just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.

The infected individuals were a 65-year-old woman, who is the wife of the man detected with the virus in Singapore, and their two grandsons, aged 11 and 2, Dzulkefly said.

The three have been admitted to the Sungai Buloh hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment and were considered in stable condition, the minister said at a news conference.

In a separate statement, Malaysia Airports said it has heightened screening of all passengers and crew arriving from China at gateway airports across the country to minimise the potential spread of the virus. 

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, similar to the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that spread in 2002 and 2003, has killed 41 and infected 1,300 as of Saturday. 

Confirmed cases were earlier reported in Chinese cities and the United States, France, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Nepal.