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COVID-19: 12 weeks in Malaysia

Rachel Soon
Medical Writer
28 Apr 2020
COVID-19 case progression between 25 January to 18 April 2020. (Data source: MOH Malaysia, graph by eds)

With daily life today upturned to a previously unthinkable extent by COVID-19, we take a brief look back at the pandemic’s march through the country in the 3 months since its arrival.

Timeline

25 January: First cases of SARS-CoV-2 are diagnosed by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and quarantined in Malaysia. All four individuals are Chinese nationals in Johor Bahru who were in close contact with a Singaporean patient.1

27 January: The MOH identifies 26 hospitals nationwide as designated treatment centres.2

9 February: A linear growth in cases progresses, primarily from inbound travellers and  their close contacts. The Malaysian government begins a series of travel bans starting from hotspot regions in China.3

13 February: Apart from IMR, the MOH reports that five Public Health Laboratories (Makmal Kesihatan Awam, MKA) and 12 public hospitals are ready for case testing.4

24 to 29 February: A major political crisis leaves the country without an official government for 6 days.5

27 February: ‘Second wave’ of COVID-19 cases begins, with an exponential growth of case numbers resulting from mass gatherings.6

12 March: First sporadic case of COVID-19 infection reported from surveillance of patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).7

17 March: First deaths in Malaysia from COVID-19, a 60-year-old pastor in Kuching and a 34-year-old man in Johor Bahru, are reported.8

18 March: The Movement Control Order (MCO) begins for a period of 2 weeks. All non-essential services are halted. Schools and places of worship are closed. Travel is restricted to within 10 km of residences.9

6 April: For the first time in the second wave of infection, new recoveries (236) exceed new cases (131). The Solidarity trial, an international clinical trial which includes Malaysian hospitals, to test the efficacy of remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir (with or without interferon beta-1a), chloroquine, and hydroxychloroquine is launched by WHO.10

16 April: MOH announces that reliable rapid antigen test kits with 84% sensitivity and 100% specificity rates are being procured from South Korea.11

21 April: The first patient is enrolled into the Malaysian arm of the Solidarity trial.12

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Most Read Articles
Roshini Claire Anthony, 01 Dec 2020

An evidence-based, multifaceted intervention aimed at reducing haemodialysis catheter-related bloodstream infections (HD-CRBSIs) failed to improve this outcome, results of the REDUCCTION* trial showed.

Pearl Toh, 3 days ago
While it is well known that COVID-19 illness is associated with coagulopathy, the optimal anticoagulation strategy remains elusive, and two studies presented at the ASH 2020 Congress further add to the growing debate on the appropriate anticoagulant dose for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Tristan Manalac, 23 hours ago
People are more likely to follow social distancing measures for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic when they thought that their friends and family did the same, too, according to a new study.