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Malaysian former ministers reported to have contact with COVID-19 patient, undergoing tests

20:49 | 02/03/2020

The Malaysian Health Ministry said on Monday (Mar 2) it is investigating information that two former political office holders may have come into contact with a COVID-19 patient while attending a function on Feb 27. 

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This handout photo taken and released on February 4, 2020 by Malaysia's Ministry of Health shows health workers wearing protective suits as Malaysian nationals arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, after being evacuated from China's Wuhan. (Photo: AFP/Malaysia's Ministry of Health/Muzzafar Kasim)

“The Health Ministry refers to information circulating on social media about two high profile individuals who are said to be suspected of being infected with COVID-19, and linked to Case 26. (The matter) is under investigation and appropriate measures will be taken,” Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement, however did not identify the individuals concerned.

A former Malaysian minister and a former deputy minister are reported to have come into close contact with a COVID-19 patient at an event last Thursday.

Malaysian media reported on Monday that the patient is a director of UDA Holdings and a senior member in the leadership of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

Both entities have issued statements confirming the individual has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The function was said to be a farewell event for the outgoing minister and deputy minister. All Malaysian ministers were relieved of their duties on Monday, following the resignation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the prime minister.

The ministry’s three senior officers have been put under quarantine for 14 days, the Edge reported.

According to the Health Ministry, the COVID-19 patient, Case 26, has a travel history to Shanghai in mid-January.

The 52-year-old man started showing symptoms on Feb 27 and was treated in a private hospital on the same day. He later tested positive on Feb 29 and is now warded at Sungai Buloh Hospital.

Wong Chen, a Member of Parliament from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, said on Facebook that tests were being conducted on the said former minister and former deputy minister.

“The ex-minister and ex-deputy minister have attended many political meetings during the week-long crisis. Please note that both have not been found to be infected and that tests are ongoing,” he said.

As a precaution, Wong said he has imposed a self-quarantine in view of the situation for Monday and Tuesday, pending the test results of the two politicians./.

VNF/CNA