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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, March 22: A 74-year-old man became the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) casuality in Malaysia.
Ministry of Health (MoH) director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed that the number of deaths for Covid-19 in the country now stands at 10.
“The tenth case of death involved a 74-year-old man from the tabligh cluster, that was the 259th case.
“He was admitted to Pulau Pinang Hospital on March 13 after he experienced severe acute respiratory symptoms on March 8.
“On March 14, he tested positive for Covid-19 and was given breathing aid after his health condition deteriorated.
“However, the patient passed away at 4.05pm, March 22,” he disclosed during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur this evening.
He added that there were 123 new positive cases for Covid-19 as of noon today.
Dr Noor Hisham noted that out of the 123 positive cases, 34 cases were linked to the tabligh cluster during a gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque last month while 49 cases are under investigation.
With the addition of 123 new positive cases, the cumulative total of Covid-19 positive cases as of today stands at 1,306.
He explained that out of the 1,306 cases, a total of 743 positive cases which represented 62 per cent is from the tabligh cluster.
Dr Noor Hisham also disclosed that there were 14,500 local participants who attended the tabligh gathering at the mosque in Sri Petaling last month.
He added that there were also another 1,500 participants from 25 countries overseas who had attended the gathering.
The MoH has managed to trace 11,000 of the participants from the tabligh gathering.
Dr Noor Hisham noted that MoH had performed sampling on 6,700 participants and 743 tested positive for Covid-19.
He added, “Now, we are concerned because the spread of (Covid-19) may be among the members
“So, we have engaged the leaders of the tabligh and we try to convince them, explain to them the issues and challenges and therefore, have full cooperation with them and hopefully they are willing to step forward.
“This is not to stigmatise the tabligh participant group but this is for health issue, that we need to have their collaboration to come forward.
“Then we can do the necessary health testing,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham disclosed that 460 MoH staff had undergone Covid-19 testing (close contact).
He revealed that out of these staff, the results of 270 were negative while the remaining 190 are awaiting laboratory results.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham explained that the first wave of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia involved mostly Chinese tourists.
He added the second wave were imported cases, involving Malaysians returning from overseas.
As for the tabligh gathering in Sri Petaling, Dr Noor Hisham disclosed the federal government did not expect Covid-19 to spread via the gathering as the event was unknown to him.
Dr Noor Hisham said he was informed about the gathering by his counterpart in Brunei.
In the meantime, he said Malaysia is moving into phase four of mitigation measures for treating Covid-19 cases.
He revealed that there are currently 26 hospitals which has been identified to treat 450 patients throughout the country and MoH has also identified six other hospitals to treat Covid-19 cases.
Besides that, Dr Noor Hisham said MoH is also redistributing its manpower to treat Covid-19 cases.
MoH is considering the redistribution of staff and nurses from less busy hospital to hospitals which handle more Covid-19 cases.
Dr Noor Hisham said MoH will also rehire retired nurses and will work closely with private hospitals to combat Covid-19. — DayakDaily