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COVID-19: The TLDR Version Of A Global Health Crisis

COVID-19: The TLDR Version Of A Global Health Crisis

Akmal Hakim

The world had a rough start to 2020 as the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak which began in China has spread across Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

TRP brings you a quick look at the latest updates and highlights of the global health emergency developing in Malaysia and around the globe.

The unknown virus

The first case of an unknown pneumonia-like infection was detected in the port city of Wuhan in the central Hubei province of China in early December 2019. [New Straits Times – Dec 31, 2020]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) was alerted by Chinese authorities to several pneumonia cases occurring in the province. Those infected were quarantined and health officials began working on confirming the cause and origin of the disease.[South China Morning Post – Jan 1, 2020]

Chinese authorities identify that the new virus is zoonotic, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was suspected to be ground zero for the outbreak. More than 40 people have reportedly been infected at the time. [Business Insider – Feb 4, 2020]

This is a price list from the Huanan Seafood Market and one of the items is said to be 'koala' or 'live tree bears'.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market reportedly sold a range of exotic animal meats like bats, koalas, and civets among others.
(Credit: Lad Bible)

Chinese health authorities ruled out Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) as the cause of the viral outbreak. [BBC – Jan 5, 2020]

Malaysia alerted

Thermal scanners set up at KLIA.
(Credit: Malay Mail)

In early January, the Malaysian government was made aware of the situation developing in China. The Health Ministry’s Disease Control Division (DCD) begins monitoring international entry points and screening travellers. [The Star – Jan 5, 2020]

New human coronavirus identified

China reported its first fatality. A 61-year-old man who had visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan and was admitted to the hospital in late December. [Al Jazeera – Jan 11, 2020]

(Credit: AFP/Channel News Asia)

Chinese authorities announced that they have identified the viral outbreak and confirmed that the outbreak was caused by a new human coronavirus, a diverse group of viruses that cause sickness in humans and animals. The virus is now referred to as 2019-nCoV. [The Conversation – Jan 14, 2020]

The viral spread

The first case of 2019-nCoV occurring outside of China was recorded in Thailand. The victim is a 74-year-old Chinese woman returning from Wuhan city. [Reuters – Jan 14, 2020]

Japan reported its first confirmed case of 2019-CoV infecting a 30-year-old Chinese national who travelled to Wuhan. [Japan Times – Jan 16, 2020]

(Credit: Pharmaceutical Technology)

The third death from 2019-CoV was reported in Wuhan. More than 200 people have been infected across China. [Devex – Jan 20, 2020]

China confirms that 2019-CoV can be transmitted from human-to-human. [Associated Press – Jan 20, 2020]

Singapore reported its first case of 2019-CoV involving a 66-year-old man travelling from Wuhan with 8 other people. [Channel News Asia – Jan 24, 2020]

Malaysia on high alert

Malaysia is now in “high surveillance” mode. Response teams and medical facilities are placed on high alert and standing by to respond to any reports of the viral infection. [New Straits Times – Jan 20, 2020]

The government temporarily bans and officially stopped issuing travel visas to all Chinese nationals from Wuhan and the greater Hubei province. [Malay Mail – Jan 27, 2020]

The ops room stressed that those undergoing quarantine must not venture to public places. — Reuters pic
(Credit: Reuters/Malay Mail)

Wisma Putra issues a travel advisory refraining Malaysians from travelling to China. [Malay Mail – Jan 25, 2020]

Malaysians are cautioned against distributing fake news on 2019-nCoV. [Free Malaysia Today – Jan 25, 2020]

Quarantine in effect

The WHO announces that the viral outbreak does not constitute a global emergency as there was still no evidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China. [WHO – Jan 22, 2020]

The death toll in China now exceeds 10 people with more than 500 now infected. The virus has also spread to South Korea, Taiwan and the United States (U.S.) [CNN – Jan 22, 2020]

China begins cancelling events for the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations and closing down several tourist hotspots. More than 800 people have now been infected with 2019-CoV and more than 20 perished. [BBC – Jan 24, 2020]

Chinese paramilitary police stand guard outside the closed Hankou Railway Station, Wuhan, Jan. 23, 2020. AP Photo
Police standing guard at a railway station in Wuhan.
(Credit: Daily Sabah)

The entire city of Wuhan and several other areas in the Hubei province where more than 50 million people live, is placed under quarantine and travel in and out of the areas are restricted. [Business Insider – Jan 28, 2020]

Coronavirus detected in Malaysia

In mid-January, 3 cases of 2019-nCoV were detected in the country. The victims were among 8 Chinese nationals who were flagged and quarantined in Johor Baru after. The victims were part of the same group travelling from Wuhan with Singapore’s first confirmed patient. The victims were sent to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for treatment. [New Straits Times – Jan 25, 2020]

The Health Ministry reported that more than 80 Malaysians living in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province returning home to Malaysia for CNY was clear of infections. [New Straits Times – Jan 26, 2020]

More than 1,000 Chinese citizens entering Penang via a cruise ship were given the all-clear from the virus. [The Star – Jan 26, 2020]

A nurse checks the temperature of a visitor as part of the coronavirus screening procedure at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 3, 2020.
Medical staff screening visitors at a hospital in KL.
(Credit: Reuters/Straits Times)

Wisma Putra plans to evacuate Malaysians that were stranded in Wuhan following travel restrictions set by China. [New Straits Times – Jan 30, 2020]

6 Malaysians were arrested for spreading fake news regarding 2019-nCoV. They are charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for misuse of network facilities or services. [New Straits Times – Jan 30, 2020]

Sarawak restricts foreigners and Chinese nationals with recent travel history to China from entering the state. [The Star – Feb 1, 2020]

A global health emergency

At the end of January, the WHO officially declared 2019-nCoV as a global health emergency with the number of cases and deaths from around the world increasing fast. More cases have been recorded in Canada, Australia, Germany, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). [The Verge – Jan 30, 2020]

The WHO convening for a special session to discuss the viral outbreak of 2019-nCoV in Geneva, Switzerland.
(Credit: WHO)

The death toll in China at the start of February 2020, stood at more than 400, with more than 20,000 people infected around the country. [CNN – Feb 4, 2020]

Malaysians infected

Malaysians and non-citizen family members who were evacuated from Wuhan arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and placed under quarantine. [New Straits Times – Feb 4, 2020]

Passengers greeted by health personnel at KLIA.
(Credit: Bernama via NST)

The first Malaysian citizen infected by 2019-nCoV was confirmed. The patient is a 41-year-old Selangor man after coming back from Singapore. [The Star – Feb 5, 2020]

First locally-transmitted case of 2019-nCoV identified. The victim, a 40-year-old-woman from Kedah was the sister of the Selangor man who was infected. [Malay Mail – Feb 6, 2020]

Infections, recoveries and deaths

Malaysia recorded its first full recovery from 2019-nCoV. A 4-year-old girl from China who was undergoing treatment at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital in Langkawi since the end of January was officially discharged and allowed to go home after being tested negative for the virus. [Free Malaysia Today – Feb 5, 2020]

The 4-year-old (right) patient who fully recovered with her parents and sibling.
(Credit: Facebook via FMT)

14 cases of 2019-nCoV have now been identified in the country. [New Straits Times – Feb 6, 2020]

The Chinese doctor who attempted to sound the first alarm on the viral outbreak of 2019-nCoV in December 2019 had died from contracting the infection. [BBC – Feb 7, 2020]

Dr Li Wenliang had tried to warn his peers on a potential viral outbreak. He was later detained by Chinese authorities and accused of spreading false rumours.
(Credit: TRT World)

Malaysia has 15 cases of 2019-nCoV. 4 being locals while the other 11 are Chinese citizens. [The Star – Feb 7, 2020]

Malaysia extends travel ban on Chinese citizens from provinces under quarantine by the Chinese government. [The Star – Feb 7, 2020]

2019-nCoV has claimed 811 lives in China. The death toll of the 2019-nCoV outbreak now surpasses SARS which stood at 774 in 2003. [Reuters – Feb 9, 2020]

Another Malaysian was confirmed positive for 2019-nCoV, bringing the country’s total infected count to 18. [New Straits Times – Feb 10, 2020]

Officially named

Singapore raises its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) to “Orange”, the second-highest warning stage following 4 new infections in the country. [The Star – Feb 7, 2020]

A total of 3 patients infected with the coronavirus in Malaysia made full recoveries and discharged from the hospital. [Free Malaysia Today – Feb 9, 2020]

Singaporeans arriving in Sarawak will be subjected to 14-day quarantine period following Singapore’s DORSCON announcement set to Orange. [Channel News Asia – Feb 10, 2020]

The Malaysian Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry conducts surveillance in Johor following viral reports of panic-buying by Singaporeans coming over from the causeway due to fears of coronavirus. [Free Malaysia Today – Feb 11, 2020]

Malaysia and Singapore set to form a joint committee working to manage the outbreak of 2019-nCoV. [New Straits Times – Feb 11, 2020]

WHO released the official name for 2019-nCoV. The virus is now referred to as COVID-19. [BBC – Feb 12, 2020]

Malaysia’s Health Ministry reassured the nation that the recovery rate for Covid-19 was high. The ministry’s Geographical Information System revealed that the mortality rate for the virus stands at 2.2%, while the rate of recovery is at 8.6%. [The Star, Feb 12, 20202]

Worldwide death toll reaches more than 1,300 with over 60,000 confirmed cases of infection. [CBS News – Feb 13, 2020]

Malaysian student in Australia was evicted from her home in Perth after returning from CNY holidays over concerns of infection. [New Straits Times – Feb 13, 2020]

Note left by the owner of the rented home.
(Credit: New Straits Times)

4 infected patients in Malaysia given the all-clear and discharged from the hospital. A total of 7 people previously infected with COVID-19 in the country have recovered. [Channel News Asia – Feb 14, 2020]

3 more infections detected in Malaysia. The country now has 22 confirmed cases of CORVID-19. 6 locals, 15 Chinese citizens and an American woman who was previously a passenger on board the cruise ship, MS Westerdam. [The Star – Feb 16, 2020]

Malaysia bans all cruise liners that departs or transit in China from docking in the country. [Malaysiakini – Feb 16, 2020]

Levelling off?

The first Malaysian who was infected with COVID-19 had recovered and discharged from the hospital. [The Star – Feb 17, 2020]

The annual Tokyo Marathon in Japan limits the popular running event to only elite-runners due to concerns over CORVID-19. [CNBC News – Feb 17, 2020]

The viral infection rate in China is said to be slowing down, falling below 2,000 for the first time since January. [Malay Mail – Feb 18, 2020]

China will open new facial mask factories in order to meet the demand for protective gear for its medical personnel and emergency responders. [Reuters – Feb 17, 2020]

Education facilities in Shanghai, China will remain closed in light of the viral outbreak. Kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and colleges students will be participating in online classes beginning in March. [Shanghai Daily – Feb 18, 2020]

Japan aims to begin clinical trials to use HIV medication on patients infected by the coronavirus. [Malaysiakini – Feb 18, 2020]

The WHO cautioned that the world is over-reacting to the viral outbreak of COVID-19, stating that the disease only affected a tiny portion of the global population outside of the virus’s epicentre in China, and explained that travel restriction set by some nations were unnecessary. [Japan Times – Feb 18, 2020]

The WHO reports that 80% of COVID-19 patients only get mild symptoms of the infection and recover from the illness. [Channel News Asia – Feb 18, 2020]

Liu Zhiming, the director of the Wuhan Wuchang Hospital in China died from contracting COVID-19. [The Star – Feb 18, 2020]

Liu Zhiming at a press conference in China.
(Credit: The Star/WeChat)

The European Union Chamber of Commerce expresses concerns that the ongoing viral outbreak of COVID-19 may threaten the world’s supply of antibiotics. [Business Times – Feb 18, 2020]

The World Bank will review the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Malaysia’s economy. [Malay Mail – Feb 18, 2020]

2 Malaysian passengers onboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner has been confirmed positive for COVID-19 and are being treated in Japan. [Berita Harian – Feb 18, 2020]

The WHO commends Malaysia’s competence in handling the COVID-19 outbreak. [The Star – Feb 18, 2020]

A total of 13 out of the 22 patients infected with COVD-19 in Malaysia have recovered and discharged from the hospital. 3 of the former patients were locals while the other 10 were Chinese citizens. [Channel News Asia – Feb 19, 2020]

COVID-19 infections in Singapore increased to 81 people which included 1 Malaysian citizen. [Free Malaysia Today – Feb 19, 2020]

COVID-19 death toll in China reaches 2,000 with more than 70,000 infections reported. [Free Malaysia Today – Feb 19, 2020]

The hot weather in Malaysia and within the region could be aiding in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Scientists at Singapore’s Health Ministry explained that the virus could not survive in temperatures exceeding 30’°C. [Sinar Harian – Feb 19, 2020]

China reports that more people are recovering from COVID-19 than the number of newly infected patients. More than 1,800 people have been discharged from Chinese hospitals following the outbreak. [The Star – Feb 19, 2020]

Indonesians are anxious over the spread of COVID-19 despite no reported infections in the country. [The Jakarta Post – Feb 19, 2020]

Epidemic or pandemic?

Malaysia’s e-Government services provider MY E.G. Services Bhd (MyEG) developed an artificial intelligence (AI) risk profiling system to track and monitor foreign visitors in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. [New Straits Times – Feb 19, 2020]

The COVID-19 outbreak slashed China’s carbon dioxide emissions by around 100 million metric tons. [Time – Feb 19, 2020]

Malaysia investigates more than 20 alleged “fake news” cases regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. [Channel News Asia – Feb 21, 2020]

Another Malaysian citizen was cured of COVID-19. 18 out of 22 infected patients have recovered in the country. [Berita Harian – 23 Feb, 2020]

COVID-19 infections in South Korea jumped to more than 600. The country reportedly has the 2nd largest number of coronavirus cases outside of China. [Vox – Feb 23, 2020]

More than 20,000 infected patients have recovered in China. [The Star – Feb 23, 2020]

COVID-19 infections in Italy rose to over 200 cases making it one of the wort-hit countries affected by the outbreak. [NPR – Feb 24, 2020]

2 more Malaysian patients have been cured of COVID-19. Only 2 cases of infection remain. [New Straits Times – Feb 24, 2020]

Malaysia’s Health Ministry continues to monitor COVID-19 outbreak. [Berita Harian – Feb 25, 2020]

The WHO warns the world that the COVID-19 outbreak could still reach pandemic proportions. [BBC – Feb 25, 2020]

More COVID-19 infections reported outside of China. South Korea recorded 1,261 cases, Italy at 400 cases and Iran reported 139 cases. [NPR – Feb 26, 2020]

A flight carrying the second batch of 66 Malaysian nationals and family members from Wuhan, China, along with the flight crew of 12, arrived at KLIA. All passengers placed on a 14-day quarantine. [The Star – Feb 26, 2020]

Saudi Arabia issues a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims over concerns of COVID-19. [Arab News – Feb 27, 2020]

Image result for mekah malay mail
The Holy city of Mekah.
(Credit: Malay Mail/Reuters)

The WHO urged countries to act quickly to control the spread of infections as the world stands at a “decisive point” in the global viral outbreak. [New Straits Times – Feb 27, 2020]

Malaysian government grants special monthly allowances of the country’s public service personnel involved with dealing with COVID-19 as part of the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package. [New Straits Times – Feb 27, 2020]

The Asian Champions League football games are postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. [New Straits Times – Feb 27, 2020]

The Malaysian Health Ministry advised Malaysians against travelling to Italy, Japan and South Korea following COVID-19 outbreaks. [Malay Mail – Feb 27, 2020]

The Singaporean government takes a pay cut and issues bonuses for medical personnel in solidarity of the viral outbreak. [The Star – Feb 28, 2020]

Malaysian pilgrims bound for the Umrah pilgrimage stranded at KLIA due to Arab Saudi’s travel ban. [Malay Mail – Feb 28, 2020]

Image result for klia umrah
Locals stuck at the KLIA terminal due to visa restrictions set by the Saudi government.
(Credit: Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor/New Straits Times)

Singapore emerges as a testbed to determine if COVID-19 outbreak can be contained. [The Star – Feb 28, 2020

U.S regulatory authorities announce drug shortages due to COVID-19 outbreak. [The Star – Feb 28, 2020]

Cases of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 being reinfected by the virus are popping up around the world. [New Straits Times – Feb 28, 2020]

COVID-19 infection in South Korea hits more than 2,000 cases, the highest number of cases outside of China. Most cases recorded in the city of Daegu. [New Straits Times – Feb 28, 2020]

(Credit: New Straits Times/AFP)

Malaysia issues a travel ban for South Korean nationals. [New Straits Times – Feb 28, 2020]

3 new COVID-19 cases detected in Malaysia, a Japanese national, an Italian permanent resident and a local. The country has recorded 25 cases of infection with 20 people already recovered from the virus. [Malay Mail – Feb 28, 2020]

The elderly, men and smokers are most at risk of COVID-19 infection. [The Rakyat Post – Feb 28, 2020]

All 66 Malaysians who were evacuated from Wuhan, China in February have tested negative for COVID-19 but will remain in quarantine for health screenings. [New Straits Times – Feb 29, 2020]

Thailand announced its first death from COVID-19. The victim was a 35-year-old Thai citizen who was also suffering from dengue fever. [New Straits Times – Mar 1, 2020]

Malaysian medical personnel hard at work treating patients and containing the spread of COVID-19. [The Star – Mar 1, 2020]

Malaysian medical staff putting on hazmat suits.
(Credit: Muzzafar Kasim/Health Ministry/AP/The Star)

Malaysia records a total of 29 COVID-19 cases. Out of the cases, 15 patients were Chinese nationals, 11 locals, one Japanese citizen, an American and an Italian. 7 patients are still currently undergoing treatment while the rest have fully recovered. [New Straits Times – Mar 1, 2020]

The Malaysia Autoshow 2020 set to take place in April has been postponed to July following concerns of COVID-19. [The Malaysian Reserve – Mar 2, 2020]

A Khazanah Nasional Berhad executive who was among the 29 patients infected with COVID-19 in Malaysia reportedly had close contact with the country’s high-ranking government officials, a former minister and deputy minister. [Straits Times – Mar 2, 2020]

One of the two former ministers who had contact with a Malaysian patient infected with COVID-19 tested negative for the virus. [Free Malaysia Today – Mar 2, 2020]

Indonesia reported its first cases of COVID-19 identified in the country. The patients were 2 Indonesian citizens who came in close contact with the Japanese patient being treated in Malaysia. [The Jakarta Post – Mar 2, 2020]

Members of the public crowd supermarkets and drugstores in Jakarta as panic-buying takes hold of Indonesia following the country’s first reported cases of COVID-19. [The Jakarta Post – Mar 3, 2020]

Long long queues in Indonesia as shoppers grab what they can of store shelves.
(Credit: JP/The Star)

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) revised the overnight policy rate (OPR) to 2.50% to provide for a stable monetary environment that’s affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. [The Edge – Mar 3, 2020]

2 COVID-19 cases reported in Singapore. The country’s infected count stands at 108 people with more than 300 individuals being placed in quarantine. [The Star – Mar 3, 2020]

Malaysia’s Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah denied having issued a statement for the public to avoid areas in Pantai and Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur amid viral fears of COVID-19. [Malay Mail – Mar 3, 2020]

2 major Asian squash championships cancelled amidst COVID-19 outbreak. The Asian Team Championships was set to take place in Bukit Jalil, KL on March while the Asian Junior Championships in Qingdao, China was supposed to take place in July. [New Straits Times – Mar 3, 2020]

7 cases of COVID-19 reported in Malaysia. Total cases recorded in the country stands at 36 with 22 patience having fully recovered. [Malay Mail – Mar 3, 2020]

(Credit: Alan Zamhari/ Malaysiakini)

The global death toll for COVID-19 hits 3,000, with almost 90,000 cases reported in over 60 countries accross the world. [Channel News Asia – Mar 3, 2020]

The WHO informs that the world was in “uncharted territory” with regards to tackling the COVID-19 outbreak as the virus spreads across all continents around the world except Antarctica. [CNN – Mar 3, 2020]

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