While the number of infected in Malaysia has increased to 29, the global toll has nearly exceeded 90,000. <small> Cover image via Bernama/Malay Mail China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation </small>
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed four new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia yesterday, 1 March, bringing the tally of infections in the country to 29
According to New Straits Times, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said four Malaysians, between the ages of 20 and 52, tested positive on Saturday, 29 February.</p>
Three patients are currently receiving treatment at Hospital Sungai Buloh (HSB) while another is in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL)
Dr Noor Hisham said case 26 is a 52-year-old man who travelled to Shanghai in the middle of January.
Malaysiakini reported that he is an employee of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, who was possibly in contact with two former ministers.
“He developed fever and a sore throat last Thursday, 27 February, and sought outpatient treatment at a private hospital on the same day,” he said.
“He was confirmed positive on Saturday, and is receiving treatment at HSB’s isolation ward. Investigation into the cause of infection and detection of close contacts are underway.”
<a href="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767279/f80f.jpg" rel="segment-310469 noopener noreferrer" target="" title="Medical staff work in the isolated intensive care unit in a hospital in Wuhan, China on 6 February."> <img alt="Medical staff work in the isolated intensive care unit in a hospital in Wuhan, China on 6 February." src="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767279/f80f.jpg"></img></a> Medical staff work in the isolated intensive care unit in a hospital in Wuhan, China on 6 February. <small>Image via AP/ Asian Nikkei Review</small>
Case 27 and 29 were close contacts of a previous positive case who had sought treatment at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur
Case 27 is a 20-year-old trainee nurse at the private hospital where case 24 sought treatment before she was confirmed positive, while case 29 is a 35-year-old woman who shared a hospital room with case 24 during her admission.
“At the time, case 24 had yet to be confirmed with COVID-19,” explained Dr Noor Hisham. “Hence, case 29 was allowed to go home. However, she developed fever and started coughing two days later.”
Case 29 had not sought treatment but was only detected when health district officers identified her as a close contact of case 24, a 41-year-old Japanese woman working in Malaysia.
A nurse who was treating case 24 at the private hospital was also identified as a close contact and tested positive on the same day.
According to The Star, she is the first healthcare worker in Malaysia to be infected with the disease.
“She handled case 24 without personal protective equipment on 21 and 22 February,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
<a href="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767281/0ec6.jpg" rel="segment-310470 noopener noreferrer" target="" title="Medical workers prepare to move a man into an isolation ward at a hospital in Wuhan."> <img alt="Medical workers prepare to move a man into an isolation ward at a hospital in Wuhan." src="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767281/0ec6.jpg"></img></a> Medical workers prepare to move a man into an isolation ward at a hospital in Wuhan. <small>Image via AP/Free Malaysia Today</small>
Case 28 is a 45-year-old Malaysian man and a colleague of case 25, a 54-year-old Italian man who tested positive just a day before
The both of them had travelled to Milan, Italy together with another co-worker between 15 and 21 February.
He was also detected by the MOH when they were establishing close contacts of case 25. They found that he had symptoms four days after he came back from Italy.
“His results came back positive on Saturday, and he is now at the HSB’s isolation ward for further treatment,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
In the past week, the number of cases and deaths outside of China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, have been rapidly growing
According to BBC, there are almost 90,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with the global death toll just exceeding 3,000 today, 2 March.
While 90% of the deaths are in China, with its death toll at 2,912, the number is also creeping up in other countries.
Iran has the second highest number of deaths after China, with 54 people killed and 978 infected after only announcing its first cases on 19 February.
Reuters reported that the Iranians are worrying that their clerical establishment does not have a firm grip on the illness, and were even concealing the outbreak to ensure a high turnout in their recent parliamentary polls.
<blockquote><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Coronavirus epidemy in Iran has past the crisis level. The country is imploding - law and order to disappear in the next days. A number of officials already died and mass infection among hospital staff and police forces reported.</p>— Ali (@aliostad) February 29, 2020</blockquote> Meanwhile, South Korea has become the biggest hotspot outside of China, reporting 476 new cases today, bringing the country's total infected to 4,212 and 26 deaths.
Of the confirmed cases in South Korea, 3,081 cases are from Daegu – and 73% of these cases have been linked to the Shincheonji Church, which has been accused of keeping its members secret, thus making it harder to track the outbreak.
In Italy, infections have nearly doubled over the weekend, making it the hardest hit country in Europe, with nearly 1,700 cases and 34 deaths.
Last weekend, cases in the United States rose to at least 76 with two deaths, both in Washington, with New York confirming its first case last night.
Countries including Qatar, Ecuador, Luxembourg, and Ireland have all also confirmed their first cases over the weekend, with Indonesia just confirming two positive cases today.
<a href="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767312/3997.jpg" rel="segment-310473 noopener noreferrer" target="" title="A worker sanitises a car on a regional train in Milan on Friday, 28 January."> <img alt="A worker sanitises a car on a regional train in Milan on Friday, 28 January." src="https://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/767312/3997.jpg"></img></a> A worker sanitises a car on a regional train in Milan on Friday, 28 January. <small>Image via AP/CNN</small>
Countries have imposed travel restrictions as COVID-19 infections continue to rise:
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