COVID-19: One more fatality in Malaysia, death toll now four

One COVID-19 patient has died today, bringing the number of fatalities in the country so far to four, the Health Ministry said.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the latest death was of a 50-year-old Malaysian man, Case 238 who was from the tabligh cluster.

“He was admitted to the Melaka Hospital on March 12 with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI). He started using respiratory aid on the fifth day of admission to the isolation ward and while under care in the ICU.

“His health had deteriorated by the day since his admission and he was confirmed to have died at 1.30 am on March 21,” he told a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the Health Ministry here.

Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham, in his official Facebook posting, confirmed the third death from COVID-19, a Malaysian man identified as Case 152 from the tabligh cluster who died at the Tawau Hospital in Sabah.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba announced the first two deaths in the country, involving cases 178 and 358 from Johor and Sarawak respectively.

Both were Malaysians, a 60-year-old pastor from Kuching with a history of chronic sickness and a 34-year-man who had attended the tabligh assembly in Kuala Lumpur from Feb 27 to March 1.

Dr Noor Hisham said that as of noon today, 153 new positive cases of COVID-19 had been reported, bringing the cumulative total to 1,183 cases.

“Based on preliminary investigations, 90 of the 153 new cases were linked to the tabligh assembly cluster at Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling,” he added.

He said 37 positive cases were being treated at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and of this number, 23 required respiratory aid.

He said 27 cases had recovered today and been discharged, bringing to 114 the total number of full recoveries so far.

Dr Noor Hisham said that so far 19 healthcare personnel of the Health Ministry and five staffers of private health facilities had been infected with COVID-19.

Two of the 19 Health Ministry personnel were being treated in the ICU, he added.

However, he stressed that these Health Ministry personnel did not contract the virus because of non-compliance with procedures when handling COVID-19 cases at the facilities where they worked.

“Investigations show that they are all first and second generation close contacts involving the tabligh assembly cluster,” he said.

As at March 14, a total of 337 personnel of the ministry had undergone COVID-19 detection screening tests.

Of this number, 251 were found negative while the results for the remaining 86 are still pending, he said.