Malaysia tracking 5,000 potentially exposed to coronavirus at event
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities are tracking around 5,000 citizens across the country believed to have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus at a religious event on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the Health Ministry said yesterday.
The contact tracing was initiated after neighbouring Brunei reported its first case of Covid-19 on Tuesday, a 53-year-old man who had attended the event at a mosque between Feb 27 and March 1, the ministry said in a statement.
"Based on preliminary information, the religious event involved an estimated 10,000 people from several countries," the ministry's Secretary-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said. "The Health Ministry urges all who had attended the event to cooperate with health officials to ensure Covid-19 does not continue to spread."
Malaysia reported 20 new cases yesterday, bringing its tally to 149.
The new Cabinet under Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, which held its first meeting earlier, imposed an entry ban on all Iranian, Italian and South Korean nationals due to the outbreak in those countries.
Malaysians returning from those countries will be quarantined for 14 days, Health Minister Adham Baba said.
Iran yesterday reported 63 new deaths from the virus, the highest single-day toll in the three weeks since the outbreak began there. The outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran is one of the deadliest outside China, where the disease originated.
"We have identified 958 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 9,000," its Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said at a news conference.
"Unfortunately in the past 24 hours, we have had reports of 63 deaths and overall 354 have lost their lives" to the virus.
Iran has closed schools and universities and resorted to shutting hotels and other tourist accommodation to discourage travel. - REUTERS, AFP