Authorities scramble to contain rumours of Wuhan coronavirus spread

Justin Ong
People are seen wearing protective masks at the arrival hall in KLIA 2, Sepang January 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Rumours about the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) are spreading faster than actual cases themselves, forcing authorities in three states to come out today to refute rumours that the disease has spread to their locations.

Melaka exco Low Chee Leong told national news agency Bernama today that there were no confirmed cases of the virus in Melaka despite rumours to the effect on social media.

Low said a suspected case involving a Chinese national aged seven has also been confirmed to be negative after tests were conducted in Kuala Lumpur following the family refusal of treatment in Melaka.

“The child’s family brought him to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for treatment and to undergo tests but these were negative for the coronavirus,” he told Bernama today.

Separately, the Negri Sembilan Health Department came out to deny that a confirmed case has been reported at Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar in Seremban.

Pahang’s Health director also refuted a claim spreading on Twitter that there was a confirmed coronavirus infection recorded in Kuantan.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus since its detection in Wuhan, China has invited comparisons to the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

This morning, China confirmed there were now over 2,700 cases in the country and more than 80 related deaths.

While the 2019-nCoV has so far been less deadly than the two previous coronavirus outbreaks, it is still causing health scares in countries where the virus has been detected.

At the moment, the number of confirmed 2019-nCoV cases locally has stayed at four.

Health authorities have already put in place screening and quarantine procedures at the country’s entry points to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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