COVID-19 virus in Malaysia: Here’s everything you need to know—updated daily
Originally known as the Wuhan coronavirus
|Countries||Confirmed cases||Reported deaths|
|United Arab Emirates||13||0|
|Cruise ship (Diamond Princess)||705||4|
|Total recovered: 36,612|
UPDATE: 28 February 2020, 4:38pm
- Malaysia just reported its 24th and 25th COVID-19 case in the country. The 24th case involves a 41-year-old Japanese woman who works in Malaysia. She is currently receiving treatment at HKL. The 25th case is a 54-year-old Italian man who married a Malaysian, and has recent travel history to Italy for work purposes. He is warded at Sungai Buloh Hospital.
- Due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in South Korea, Malaysia will temporarily restrict entry of visitors from South Korea. In addition, there will be special immigration counters dedicated to visitors from the countries of South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. This is effective immediately.
"Temporary entry restrictions on all visitors from South Korea, including foreigners that had been at Daegu city and Cheongdo district within 14 days before arrival in Malaysia. This covers visitors transiting through Malaysia. Malaysians, permanent residents and pass holders (long-term social visit pass and student pass) that had been at Daegu city and Cheongdo district within 14 days before entry to Malaysia need to undergo health screening by Malaysia's Health Ministry," said Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
UPDATE: 28 February 2020, 11:10am
- Malaysia has officially cured and discharged all of the previous 22 COVID-19 patients in the country. However, it was reported yesterday that Malaysia has received its 23rd case—a Malaysian who recently travelled back from Japan. She returned on February 23 and started feeling feverish. The 53-year-old proceeded to get treatment from a hospital in KL the very next day
Latest: A new case positive for #COVID19 in Malaysia.— KKMPutrajaya (@KKMPutrajaya) February 27, 2020
The 23rd case involves a local woman who had traveled to Japan recently.
Meanwhile two other patients - cases 16 and 22 have recovered and been discharged.
This brings the total number of cases so far to 23. pic.twitter.com/ujA01NFbX6
- There is currently no travel ban but the Ministry of Health has advised postponing any trips to South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. "Members of the public are advised to postpone trips to South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran following a marked increase of cases in those countries, to ensure the continued safety of yourself, family and society in general," tweeted DG of Health, Datuk DR Noor Hisham Abdullah
- Also: "Saudi Arabia temporarily suspends entry for Umrah pilgrimage over coronavirus fears"
- News of cured COVID-19 patients testing positive again caused concern for most after it happened to 14 per cent of said patients in the Guangdong province. They've since been put under medical observation. However, according to Song Tie, deputy director of Guangdong Provincial Center of Disease Control and Prevention, via China Daily, usually after being infected by a virus, the person's body will create antibodies that prevent the virus in that person from being contagious. "Young patients with mild conditions may form antibodies in as little as two weeks. Even if they test positive, the risk of being contagious is low." But for some elderly patients, it takes longer. As such, "cases of cured patients testing positive again are attributable to the condition of their disease and their physical quality, which could lead to incomplete healing of lung inflammation," said Song.
UPDATE: 24 February 2020, 3:50pm
- There has been no further cases in Malaysia. Only two patients remain under treatment after the 14th and 19th cases were successfuly discharged today
UPDATE: 21 February 2020, 3:45pm
- To date, 17 COVID-19 cases in Malaysia have been cured and discharged. Only five patients are still being treated
- There will be a second rescue mission to Wuhan come February 25. According to The Star Online, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said about 75 Malaysians as well as their spouses and children will be brought back in a special AirAsia flight. This, however, could be the final one. The second rescue mission will be handled similarly to the first one.
UPDATE: 18 February 2020, 6:51pm
- So far, 11 COVID-19 cases in Malaysia have recovered and been discharged. This, after two more patients (Malaysia evacuees from Wuhan—case no. 11 and no. 12) were cured and discharged today. More about the other cured cases below:
Two (2) patients have been cured and discharged from Hosp on 18th Feb. Both of them are Malaysians’ evacuees from Wuhan (Case no. 11 and no. 12) and was tested positive of COVID-19 on 5th February 2020.— KKMPutrajaya (@KKMPutrajaya) February 18, 2020
Overall total number of cases who have been cured and discharged - 11 cases pic.twitter.com/IsaBv1hPdv
- As there has been no new cases reported, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia remains at 22
- Meanwhile, according to the Health Minstry, the "107 Malaysians and family members who were evacuated from Wuhan through Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission on 4th February 2020 will be allowed to return back to their respective homes. All repeated COVID-19 tests were found to be negative."
UPDATE: 17 February 2020, 3:50pm
- The 15th COVID-19 case in Malaysia has successfully been treated and was discharged yesterday, bringing the total number of patients who recovered from the virus to eight
- The government has stopped allowing any passengers from the cruise ship that docked in Cambodia to enter the country. This includes any other ships that have docked or departed from China
UPDATE: 16 February 2020, 7:35am
- The latest COVID-19 case in Malaysia is an 83-year-old American woman. She was among the 145 passengers on a cruise that docked in Cambodia and was then on a flight to Malaysia to fly home. She is now being treated in Sungai Buloh Hospital. To date, this brings the total number of COVID-19 cases to 22.
- The said cruise, WS Westerdam, was the same one that was rejected by four countries for fears of the COVID-19 virus. However, it finally docked in Cambodia and the passengers and crew were all allowed to fly home after the government there confirmed they've all passed the health checks. In light of the recent case, the Health Ministry will ensure all preventive and containment measures are continuously taken.
UPDATE: 15 February 2020, 4:05pm
- According to the Health Ministry of Malaysia, two more people have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 21. The 20th case involves a 27-year-old Chinese national who showed symptoms at Bukit Kayu Hitam border. The 21st case is a 32-year-old Chinese national who married a local and is based here; but she travelled back to China to visit her family before returning to Malaysia on January 30
- Meanwhile, four more COVID-19 patients have fully recovered and have been discharged, bringing the number of recovered cases to seven.
UPDATE: 14 February 2020, 10:35am
- Over in Sarawak, there are four new patients suspected to be infected with the coronavirus, aka COVID-19 (its official name). To date, there have been a total of 80 patients under investigation (PUI) cases. 64 has tested negative while 16 are still waiting for the results
UPDATE: 13 February 2020, 6:50pm
- Malaysia has reported its 19th positive case of the coronavirus. The 39-year-old woman from China is the daughter of Malaysia's 16th case and a friend to the 14th case. She arrived in Malaysia on January 25th and was quarantined after the two related cases were tested positive on February 5th and 7th. To date, the 19 coronavirus cases consist of six Malaysians and 13 Chinese nationals.
UPDATE: 12 February 2020, 10:05am
- The Wuhan coronavirus has a new name. The World Health Organisation has announced its official name to be "COVID-19". The "co" stands for "corona", "vi" for virus, "d" for disease and "19" for the year it was identified (specifically, it was on December 31).
- The UN health agency also went on to say that the virus is a "very grave threat" but there is a "realistic chance" of stopping it
UPDATE: 11 February 2020, 5:34pm
- The Health Minister has stated that there is no need for employees to work from home at this current stage. However, those who are under quarantine due to the coronavirus should be given sick leave by the employers, according to the Human Resources Ministry. Employees cannot be asked to take unpaid leave or use their annual leave entitlement. "Employers must provide paid sick leave or hospitalisation entitlement during the quarantine period to employees receiving orders from registered medical practitioners, regardless whether the employee is quarantined at home or at the hospital," stated the guidelines released by the ministry
- Professor Leo Yee Sin, executive director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore, has shared that the "virus generally starts mild with non-specific symptoms such as cough, sore throat, slight fever and feeling tired". And thus, patients may experience these mild symptoms for at least a week before the virus affects the lungs.
UPDATE: 10 February 2020, 6:46pm
- In total, three coronavirus patients in Malaysia have fully recovered and have been discharged
- Malaysia has reported its 18th coronavirus case—a 31-year-old Malaysian who works in Macau and has travel history to China before returning to Malaysia on February 1. He's currently being treated at Sungai Buloh Hospital
- Be wary of emails, links or attachments claiming to have legitimate information about coronavirus. Researchers with IBM X-Force and Kaspersky have found hackers sending spam emails containing malicious software programmed to copy personal information instead
- Anyone in Sarawak who has recently been to Singapore must now self-quarantine themselves at home for 14 days
UPDATE: 9 February 2020, 5:43pm
- Two more positive coronavirus cases have been reported in Malaysia. The 16th case being a 67-year-old Chinese national tourist and family friend of the 14th case that was detected on February 6. The 15th case involved a 59-year-old Chinese national tourist who is currently warded at Hospital Permai, Johor
- Remember the first Malaysian man reported to have the coronavirus? The man who is believed to have contracted it while attending a conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore? His mother-in-law is the 17th case in Malaysia. The 65-year-old woman had direct contact with him when they sat at the same table during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
- Meanwhile, Malaysia has expanded its ban on visitors from China to include Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces
UPDATE: 8 February 2020, 11:04am
- With now a total of 33 confirmed coronavirus cases in Singapore, the country has raised it alert to orange, the same level it reached during the 2003 SARS outbreak. It means the virus is severe in the country and passes easily from human to human
- Diamond Princess, the cruise ship quarantined off Japan has reported another 41 people with the coronavirus, bringing the total up to 61 (out of 273). There were more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship when it docked in Yokohama to resupply for the quarantine that could last till February 19
- Rapid KL has tightened its cleanliness measures in accordance with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. Rapid bus drivers have to get their temperatures checked before commencing their duties and wearing a face mask throughout their shift. "On top of our daily routine bus-cleaning procedure, we have added a disinfectant which has been recommended by the WHO. Because Rapid buses ferry 478,000 passengers in a day, this is a measure taken to minimise the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus," said Rapid Bus chief executive officer Muhammad Yazurin Sallij. All airport shuttle buses have hand sanitisers as well
- Rapid Rail is also practising similar precautions. "All seats, hand grips and stanchions are wiped with the recommended disinfectant as these are the most frequent touch-points on a train. Escalator handrails and elevator buttons are wiped clean with the approved disinfectant, three times a day. Previously, they were only wiped once a day. As for the washrooms, they are cleaned eight times a day," said chief executive officer Abdul Hadi Amran
- Researchers at the South China Agricultural University have found that the endangered pangolin—a scaly mammal that's considered the most trafficked animal—could be the "potential intermediate host" for the coronavirus. Previous research have suggested that the new virus came from bats but needed an "intermediate host" to transmit to humans. Out of more than 1,000 samples from wild animals, the pangolin's genome sequences of viruses were 99 per cent identical to coronavirus patients.
- Another study suggests that "diarrhoea may be a secondary path of transmission for the novel coronavirus." The primary path would be virus-laden droplets from an infected person's cough. It's as simple as remembering to flush, isn't it? Not quite. In the past, faecal transmission of SARS sickened hundreds in Hong Kong's Amoy Gardens housing estate in 2003 due to the rising plume of warm air originating in bathrooms and contaminating the apartments. It was further transported to the surrounding buildings via wind. "The 2019-nCoV virus found in stool may be transmitted through fecal spread," added Jiayu Liao, a bioengineer at the University of California, Riverside. But, he added, "We still do not know how long this virus can survive outside the body—HIV can only survive roughly 30 minutes outside the body—and what temperature range the 2019-nCoV is sensitive to."
- In not so dire news, local durian prices have fallen due to low demand from China
UPDATE: 7 February 2020, 11:10am
- Dr Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor who was among the first few people who warned about the coronavirus outbreak—and was reprimanded for "spreading rumours"—, has died of the infection
- Malaysia's total number of coronavirus cases has increased to 14 after a Malaysian woman and another woman from Wuhan tested positive. Having no history of visiting China, the 40-year-old Malaysian woman is the first case of local transmission. She is, however, the younger sister of the local man who tested positive last week. "She developed fever and sore throat on Feb 1, and started coughing on Tuesday. As soon as her brother was found to be positive, she was traced by the Health Ministry. She sought treatment and tested positive on Wednesday. Currently, she is at the isolation ward at Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah in Alor Setar and is in a stable condition," said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad at a press conference.
- During the same conference, Dzulkefly explained, "This coronavirus is transmitted through droplets. This can be spread when the infected person sneezes or coughs. If you touch a surface which contains the infected droplet, and then you touch your face, you could contract the virus. But the droplets can only travel at most, a metre away from the person who emits them. If you are in the same room with an infected person, but the person does not emit droplets, the virus cannot infect you."
UPDATE: 6 February 2020, 10:24am
- A social media post, which went viral yesterday, stating there is a 'Patient Under Investigation' (PUI) case for the coronavirus at a clinic in Sepang has since been denied by the Selangor State Health Department (JKNS). The case did not meet the criterias and health clinic was closed and decontaminated as a precaution only.
- While there are news of some researchers either finding an effective drug or making a breakthrough in developing a vaccine against the virus, a representative for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has spoken out: "There are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV (virus) and the WHO recommends enrolment into a randomized controlled trial to test efficacy and safety." According to Reuters, "the earliest that scientists hope to be able to start initial human trials of a new coronavirus vaccine is by June this year."
UPDATE: 5 February 2020, 5:19pm
- The first person to be cured from the coronavirus in Malaysia has been reported. A four-year-old Chinese girl who was being treated in Langkawi since January 29 has been given the all-clear to return home to China. "This case shows the 2019-nCoV is treatable and the patient can recover fully, as many other cases in China have been reported. The perception that this disease is fatal to those who contract it is inaccurate," wrote Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on his Facebook page.
- In a panic to buy face masks but find them sold out almost everywhere? Don't. The government has urged local manufacturers and importers to increase the production of face masks last week. However, people are advised against panic buying and retailers are reminded against increasing the prices (or face stern actions)
- Singapore too has reported its first local human-to-human transmission, bringing the total number of infected cases to 24
- Two Malaysians who were among the evacuated group from Wuhan have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. They're both now in an isolation ward at Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital, Seremban.
- A 17-year-old Canadian national in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) area was suspected to be infected with coronavirus. As a precaution, a team in full protective suits had been dispatched to the location. He has since been taken to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
UPDATE: 4 February 2020, 6:16pm
- The AirAsia aircraft carrying 141 evacuated Malaysians (and 24 non-Malaysians who are family members) from Wuhan has safely arrived at KLIA this morning
- They will all be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival, to which they will not be entering the KLIA building but brought straight to the special quarantined area. This includes the crew and and Health Ministry staff that were involved
- Meanwhile, Chinese scientists in Wuhan have made a new discovery on the coronavirus and how it can transmitted through the digestive system and into human faeces
- The first Malaysian to have been infected with the novel coronavirus has been reported. The man from Selangor has a history of recently travelling to Singapore and the Health Ministry is working with our neighbouring country to determine where the infection could have taken place.
- Another case–a Chinese national–was also reported today, bringing the total number of infected cases in Malaysia to 10.
UPDATE: 3 February 2020, 10:40am
- ICYMI: "All life insurance and takaful operators will provide hospitalisation coverage and treatment due to the 2019 novel coronavirus to their policyholders and certificate holders." So do check with your life insurance companies and takaful operators for more info on the coverage
- The first death from the coronavirus outside of China has been reported in the Philippines
UPDATE: 31 January 2020, 10:40am
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has finally declared the coronavirus a "global health emergency". The decision was made after reports of human-to-human transmission.
- READ MORE: What does a "global health emergency" mean
"Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no-confidence in China. Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems," said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
In addition, the UN health agency added that it was not recommending "measures that unnecessarily interfere with international trade or travel"
Similarly, The Malay Mail reports that "Malaysia's import and export activities with China" will carry on. "Remember that whatever inanimate objects that are imported into the country do not transmit the disease. You will not get the virus by touching the goods," said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Kian Ming
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tun Mahathir said there is yet to be a need to ban all China flights although Putrajaya is still reviewing such a policy
We will update the story as it continues to develop. Alternatively, read on for some answers to FAQs about the new coronavirus.
UPDATE: 30 January 2020, 12:10pm
- While the number of infected patients and fatalities are still on the rise, "China's National Health Commission also says 170 people had been cured and discharged," according to a tweet made by BFM News
- Malaysia is working with WHO and other Asean countries to develop a vaccine
- Visitors from Hubei, China are now banned from entering Malaysia, regardless of their health conditions
- Visitors from other parts of China are still allowed entry but subjected to thermal scanning at immigration checkpoints
- The government is in talks with China to evacuate the 78 Malaysians that are currently in Wuhan. If the plan goes through, Prime Minister Tun Mahathir said Malaysia will send aid in the form of food supplies, masks and gloves to Wuhan via a chartered flight
- Malaysia's total number of patients with coronavirus is now up to eight as confirmed by the Health Ministry. The eight patient is also a China national
We will update the story as it continues to develop. Alternatively, read on for some answers to FAQs about the new coronavirus.
UPDATE: 29 January 2020, 3:01pm
- Three more cases of the coronavirus in Malaysia have been reported, bringing the total number of positive cases up to seven. All seven are Chinese nationals
- Be wary of fake news and be sure you're not one to spread them either. A man in Bangi was arrested yesterday over a Facebook post containing false information about the Wuhan coronavirus. Under Section 223 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, the man could potentially face a punishment of imprisonment of no more than a year and a fine of up to RM50,000 if convicted
- The police forces are following through with investigations on those who commit the offence of spreading fake news. Currently, it involves four separate Facebook posts and one WhatsApp exchange
Senarai berita palsu berkenaan novel #coronavirus di negara ini.— KKMPutrajaya (@KKMPutrajaya) January 29, 2020
Kenyataan rasmi mengenai novel coronavirus hanya dikeluarkan KKM dari semasa ke semasa. #WuhanCoronovirus#2019nCoV pic.twitter.com/P3Asn2gGF9
We will update the story as it continues to develop. Alternatively, read on for some answers to FAQs about the new coronavirus.
UPDATE: 28 January 2020, 8:30pm
The Wuhan coronavirus is relentlessly spreading on a global scale as numbers of the infected and fatalities continue to rise. To the point that the World Health Organization has admitted its error in assessing the risks of the deadly virus, going as far as to calling the risks "very high in China, high at the regional level and high at the global level." But still it's not yet an international health emergency. Here's what you need to know instead:
- Malaysia has suspended all visa facilities for Chinese tourists from Wuhan, Hubei and neighbouring provinces in China due to the development of the coronavirus outbreak
- Sarawak has imposed an immediate ban on recruitment workers from China
- All four of the patients with the virus in Malaysia are Chinese nationals who came via Johor from Singapore
- The Wuhan virus can be passed from human to human
In outbreaks of other #coronaviruses (MERS & SARS), person-to-person transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of the 2019-nCoV can be similar— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 27, 2020
WHO Situation Report 27 January 2020 https://t.co/l1vODXEyD3 pic.twitter.com/vuNl64gZnm
- A large quantity of the novel coronavirus have been found in the environmental samples collected from Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, specifically in the wildlife trading section. Thereby suggesting the outbreak is highly related to the trading of wild animals
- Despite the declaration made by Chinese authorities, the World Health Organization is still deliberating if the Wuhan coronavirus "is contagious during its incubation period, before symptoms appear"
- However, the UN health agency estimates the incubation period for the virus to be between two and 10 days
- Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd announced that they're doing everything they can to keep their airports hygienic
Germs away! We are doing everything we can to maintain hygiene at our airport by sanitising the handrails of escalators and trolleys. The safety of our passengers and #MYairportscommunity is always our topmost priority. pic.twitter.com/5MJKnIktK6— Malaysia Airports (@MY_Airports) January 27, 2020
- The Ministry of Health Malaysia has just released a list of 26 referral hospitals nationwide that can handle patients as well as suspected cases of the coronavirus
Senarai 26 hospital seluruh negara bagi mengendalikan kes-kes yang disyaki (Patient-under-investigation) dan sahih (confirmed) 2019-nCoV. pic.twitter.com/ZM6oforCMT— KKMPutrajaya (@KKMPutrajaya) January 28, 2020
- The viral message on a coronavirus in Sabah is fake, as confirmed by Sabah Health director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi
UPDATE: 25 January 2020, 2:00pm
It's official: The Wuhan virus is now in Malaysia. Three people from the group that was suspected and reported on January 24 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus due to close contact with the man in Singapore. BFM News reported that all three are PRC nationals, currently warded at the Sungai Buloh Hospital and are in stable condition.
Meanwhile, MalaysiaKini wrote that the Health Ministry is considering "the need to restrict the arrivals of Chinese nationals into the country to minimise the spread of the new coronavirus in Malaysia."
While two out of the three cases in Johor are aged 2 and 11 years old, respectively; most of the victims who passed away from the virus was over 60 and had pre-existing health issues, as summarised by The Star. The tricky part is that not all patients or victims actually developed a fever, which makes detecting possible cases even more difficult with just thermal scanners.
“A major concern is the range of severity of symptoms this virus is causing,” said Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust.
“It is clear some people are being affected and are infectious while experiencing only very mild symptoms or possibly without experiencing symptoms at all,” he said.
Regardless, take care and practise good hygiene, everyone! We'll continue to update this story as it develops.
UPDATE: 24 January 2020, 2:35pm
Just in: According to The Star, eight people in Johor are suspected to have contracted the Wuhan virus. They're currently being isolated and monitored by health officers for symptoms related to it. Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the eight people entered Malaysia from Singapore and had contact with the 66-year-old man (a Chinese national from Wuhan) in Singapore who was confirmed to have the virus.
"They are not patients," he told the reporters. "So far, there are no symptoms but they will be monitored for a week."
2020 is not off to a great start. From the devastating Australian bushfires to the crazy floods in Jakarta to the trending topic of WWIII (due to the death of Iran's top military commander by American drones)... and now, #WuFlu.
A quick recap: Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, recently had a coronavirus outbreak which has since spread across China. Wuhan was closed off but due to rising numbers, Chinese authorities have since expanded travel restrictions to a few other cities near Wuhan. To date, China has confirmed 830 cases of infected patients and a death toll of 25 people.
On January 23, it was reported that Malaysia has received four patients suspected to have contracted the Wuhan coronavirus (code name 2019-nCoV). By night, it was confirmed that the test results for the four patients have come back negative. On the same day, Singapore confirmed its first case of the Wuhan virus.
But it's always better to be prepared and well-equipped, and that includes knowledge of the coronavirus, precautions and its global status.
What is the coronavirus?
Remember SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) back in 2002 to 2003 when it caused more than 700 deaths in 37 countries? Yes, it's very similar. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses (CoV) are:
- a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases
- zoonotic, which means patients get the virus from animals but the virus could have gone through a or a few genetic mutations that allow it to infect (and multiply) inside humans - and from there human to human
- transmitted through the air
Q: What is a #coronavirus?— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 17, 2020
A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) https://t.co/PKzKaO2yfK pic.twitter.com/mhEa7LFVhx
So is it from bats?
The original source for both SARS and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is the bat, with the middle host being either a masked palm civet or camels. But more recent reports have suggested that the Wuhan coronavirus could have come from snakes as the intermediate host. Snakes hunt for bats, after all; and since the Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, where the outbreak is believed to have started, did sell snakes, it's a high possibility.
This is a great, and costly, reminder that people should not be consuming wild animals.
Is Malaysia prepared if the Wuhan virus hits the country?
According to Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health at the Ministry of Health Malaysia, a medical procedure for the virus for reference purposes has been issued and they'll be working with relevant agencies to strengthen screening activities at all checkpoints into the country. 26 government hospitals across the country have been identified to handle suspected 2019-nCov cases.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye also told New Straits Times that, "They include all the state hospitals and major specialist hospitals with an infectious disease unit. Every state will have at least one hospital that can provide isolation and treatment to patients."
The Health Ministry has confirmed that 4 people suspected of the coronavirus in Selangor and Sabah, have tested negative for the virus.— BFM News (@NewsBFM) January 24, 2020
Meanwhile, Wisma Putra is advising Malaysians to defer all non-essential travel to Wuhan in China, and other areas affected by the virus pic.twitter.com/Nbk4YnPzG5
"We would prefer them (patients) to be treated in public hospitals unless private hospitals have the facilities to provide isolation (for patients) and take protective measures for staff. I think most private hospitals are not equipped with that."
"There are a few requirements (to handle such cases). First, the patients need to be isolated. Second, the healthcare providers should have adequate protection with special protective gear to keep them from being infected.
"And, finally, the facilities should have the capacity to perform contact tracing and monitoring," he said.
#Breaking Huangshi, another city in Hubei Province, will halt ferry and bus operations near the Yangtze river bridge and stop passenger traffic, from 10am Friday.— BFM News (@NewsBFM) January 24, 2020
It joins 5 other Chinese cities placed in a lock down, namely Huanggang, Xiantao, Chibi, Lichuan and Ezhou pic.twitter.com/CrO9Ako1ZC
What are the precautions people can take against the Wuhan virus?
Maintain good personal hygiene, which means washing hands frequently with soap and using hand sanitiser. Wear a mask or cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Cook meat thoroughly and limit contact with live animals. Yes, it's as basic as that, for now.
What are the symptoms?
Fever, difficulty breathing and coughing. In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Stay healthy while travelling!— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 23, 2020
Avoid travelling if you have a fever and cough.
If you have a fever, cough & difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous #travel history with your health care provider#coronavirus pic.twitter.com/a1pDnElATV
Is there a vaccine?
Not at this point, unfortunately. But three research teams are working on it and are aiming to have a shot developed and approved within a year, according to Channel News Asia.
Which countries have reported cases of the Wuhan virus?
China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, France, Australia, Nepal and the US.
Confirmed cases globally: 1,316
Reported deaths: 41
Total countries: 14
But it's still not considered a "global emergency"
An emergency committee set up by the WHO has decided that the Wuhan virus is not yet a global health emergency but will meet again to discuss within ten days. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director general, however, acknowledged that it is an emergency in China but not yet a global one.
More updates to come. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has put together an FAQ thread here.