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Jakarta Post

Malaysian PM quarantines after minister tests positive for COVID-19

  • Joseph Sipalan


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   /   Mon, October 5, 2020   /   05:57 pm
Malaysian PM quarantines after minister tests positive for COVID-19 This handout photo from Malaysia's Department of Information taken and released on May 18 shows Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin wearing a face mask during the opening ceremony of the third term of the 14th parliamentary session in Kuala Lumpur. (AFP/Nazri Rapaai/Malaysia's Department of Information)

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday said he will self quarantine for 14 days after a minister who attended a high-level government meeting to discuss coronavirus developments on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19.

The Southeast Asian country has seen a steady climb in cases in the past week in the aftermath of an election in the state of Sabah in Borneo on Sept 26.

Authorities in Malaysia have warned that coronavirus restrictions may have to be reimposed if the trend continues, amid popular anger towards politicians who have been blamed for the spike.

In a statement, Muhyiddin confirmed that Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri had tested positive, and that those identified as close contacts at Saturday's National Security Council meeting to discuss COVID-19 had been issued a 14-day home surveillance order starting Oct 3.

"Pursuant to that, I will undergo self-quarantine at my home for 14 days as advised by the health ministry," Muhyiddin said.

"However, this will not interrupt government business. I will continue to work from home and use video conferencing to conduct meetings as necessary."

In an earlier statement, the health ministry said contact tracing had been carried out, including symptom screening and collection of swabs to detect COVID-19 infections.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Zulkifli confirmed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was now undergoing treatment.

In a separate statement, Malaysia's health ministry reported 432 new daily cases on Monday, setting a new record since the country started tracking the pandemic.