Coronavirus: Malaysia reports biggest jump in cases, Indonesia and Singapore confirm more infections

Tashny Sukumaran

Malaysia saw its largest one-day jump in Covid-19 cases on Friday with 28 new cases reported, bringing the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia to 83 – the country’s largest spike after weeks of numbers hovering below 30.

Singapore also had it’s biggest jump in cases on Friday, with 13 new confirmed infections, and Indonesia reported that two more people had tested positive.

“The expected spike of cases was linked to the close contacts of cluster case 26. The total cumulative cases are 83 and 23 cases have been discharged well,” said Health Ministry director general Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement, referring to Malaysia’s Patient 26, who has been identified as the index patient for over 250 close contact cases and passed the virus to at least 21 others.

Although Patient 26 does not constitute a “super spreader”, Noor Hisham described the case earlier this week as “definitely more extraordinary” than others.

Malaysian Health director general Noor Hisham Abdullah. Photo: dpa

So far, 956 close contacts have been identified, with 258 related to Malaysia’s Patient 26. Meanwhile, 23 patients have fully recovered and have been discharged, one of which was announced today.

The Ministry did not give details of the new cases, but assured Malaysians that investigations and close contact detection activities were ongoing to identify the cause of the infection and thus prevent its spread.

“Based on our assessment to date, the COVID-19 infection situation is still under control and is in the Early Containment phase,” it said.

Malaysia reports 14 new virus cases linked to Khazanah cluster

Of the 83 patients 65 are Malaysians, 15 are from China and three are from the US, Japan and Italy.

Patient 26 on Friday released a statement to clarify that while the new wave of Covid-19 cases – the nation’s first fully-local cluster – was linked to him, “being linked to me and having originated from me are two entirely different things”.

Earlier this week the Ministry reported that several executives and top officers linked to sovereign wealth fund Khazanah, the Finance Ministry, the Entrepreneur Development and Co-operatives Ministry and government-linked company UDA Holdings had tested positive for the coronavirus.

A couple wearing protective face masks cross a street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Reuters

On Wednesday, the east Malaysian state of Sarawak issued a travel ban on those arriving from Italy and Iran to curb the spread of the Covid-19 disease. The two new countries are in addition to China and South Korea.

In February, Malaysia launched a stimulus package to ward against the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak on its tourism and trade, but after an unexpected change in government this week, it remains unclear what will happen to the plan.

Japan’s quarantine rules for tourists slammed as coming ‘too late’

Meanwhile, Indonesia confirmed on Friday that two more people had tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the total of confirmed cases to four.

The two Indonesians were in their 30s and had been tested after being in contact with the first two confirmed cases, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto told a news briefing.

Indonesia had announced its first confirmed cases on Monday, a mother and her daughter who live in the Depok area near Jakarta.

Singapore reported 13 new cases of the virus on Friday making it the city state’s largest one-day jump since the nine cases reported on February 14. It brought the total number of cases in Singapore to 130. Of these, 82 have fully recovered while nine are seriously ill in the intensive care unit.

Of the 13 new cases, nine are linked to the country’s latest cluster of a private dining function at SAFRA Jurong that happened on February 15. This is Singapore’s sixth cluster of the Covid-19 disease and now has 17 cases linked to it. Authorities said they are investigating the cluster, which was a social event for friends and family, and people were seated at more than one table with movements throughout the dinner.

Of the remaining four new cases, two are imported from infected travellers entering Singapore – a 47-year-old Singapore Airlines cabin crew member who had been to South Africa and France, and a 37-year-old permanent resident who had been to Germany.

Another case is a 77-year-old man who was hospitalised in the same ward at the Singapore General Hospital as a previous case (Case 109) from February 29 to March 1. At that time Case 109 was not yet a Covid-19 patient. The last case has not been linked to previous cases or clusters.

Addition reporting by Associated Press

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Coronavirus: Malaysia reports biggest jump in cases, Indonesia and Singapore confirm more infections first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.