KUALA LUMPUR: Eight Chinese nationals who were in “close contact” with the first person to test positive for the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore have entered Malaysia and are now being quarantined in a hotel in Johor Bahru, Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye confirmed on Friday (Jan 24).
“They are now in a hotel in Johor Bahru,” he told CNA in a phone interview.
Mr Lee declined to name the hotel, but added that the eight are free to move around in a “restricted area in the hotel” and are prevented from having contact with others.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Malaysia’s director-general of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the eight consists of four adults and four children.
He added that Singapore’s Ministry of Health had contacted Malaysia’s Health Ministry on Thursday to inform them that the group had travelled to Johor Bahru.
After learning of this information, the Johor State Department of Health (JKN) “acted quickly” by locating them and conducting health screenings, said Dr Noor Hisham.
“The results showed they were healthy and had no signs or symptoms of infection until today,” he added.
Clinical samples have also been taken from the individuals for the 2019-nCoV detection test, Dr Noor Hisham said.
He added that the Johor State Health Department will continue to monitor their health for up to 14 days or until they return to their home country.
“The Ministry of Health Malaysia acknowledges the close cooperation and sharing of relevant health information provided by the Singapore Ministry of Health. This bilateral collaboration will continue to be strengthened between the two Ministries,” added Dr Noor Hisham.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon, Singapore’s Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak said that the eight Chinese nationals left Singapore before they had a chance to complete all “epidemiological investigations”.
Moreover, he added that Singapore had handed all information to the relevant authorities.
Assoc Prof Mak added that the relevant health authorities “takes on their own set of interventions or measures in accordance to the systems and protocols they have in place over there”.