A global health study has ranked Malaysia in 18th place among 195 nations, in terms of overall readiness to face a disease outbreak.
Results of the Global Health Security Index survey – to illuminate countries readiness and capacity gaps in dealing with infectious diseases – was released last October, several months before the new coronavirus outbreak.
Within Asia, Malaysia ranks third behind Thailand and South Korea – two countries among the “most prepared” list, at sixth and ninth place respectively from the 195 nations surveyed.
Asian countries with a lower average score than Malaysia include Japan, as well as neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia.
Countries were rated and scored between 0 to 100 marks based on publicly available information of its capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to an epidemic, as well as its overall health system, compliance with international norms and risk management.
Overall, Malaysia scored above average across all six categories, with particularly high scores for detection (73.2) and risk management (72) categories.
Within the six categories, countries were further rated for particular sections.
Malaysia scored full marks in several areas including communications with healthcare workers during a public health emergency, compared to a 15.1 average score among all 195 nations.
The index was jointly produced by the US-based Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, together with the Economist Intelligence Unit.
“The (index) is the first comprehensive assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across the 195 countries that make up the state parties to the International Health Regulations 2005,” said Global Health Security.
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad yesterday said the ministry will be requesting for additional allocations from the Finance Ministry to face a potential outbreak of the new coronavirus, with four confirmed cases in Malaysia so far, and five other suspected cases.
M’sia confirms first coronavirus cases
The Health Ministry has detected the first set of positive cases of the new coronavirus in the country, the Health Minister announced this morning.
Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said three people had been tested positive with the virus by the ministry’s laboratory last night.
He told a press conference that the three patients are related to the son and father from Wuhan, China, who had been tested positive with the virus in Singapore three days ago.
The 8 Chinese nationals quarantined in a JB hotel don’t have coronavirus.
Coronavirus: Eight Chinese nationals quarantined at Johor hotel
KEVIN DAVASAGAYAM /24 JAN 2020 / 16:28 H.
PETALING JAYA: Eight Chinese nationals who arrived in Johor Baru from Singapore yesterday, have been placed under quarantine at a hotel there under the supervision of the Health Ministry.
Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said all of them were fellow travellers with the 66-year-old Chinese male national from Wuhan who was confirmed yesterday as Singapore’s first case of an individual who tested positive for the imported novel coronavirus. The man arrived in Singapore on Jan 20.
According to Lee, all eight travellers need to be placed under isolation for at least a week in order to determine if they develop symptoms of the virus “because they have had contact with the patient who tested positive for coronavirus”.
Meanwhile, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the eight individuals consist of four adults, and four children.
“On Jan 23, Singapore reported a case of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) involving a 66-year-old Chinese citizen from Wuhan,” said Noor Hismam.
“Following the information, the Singapore Health Ministry contacted its Malaysian counterparts (MoH), to inform that the coronavirus victim was in contact with the eight individuals who are currently in Johor Baru, Malaysia.
“Upon receiving this information, the Johor State Department of Health (JKN) acted quickly and located the contacts and conducted health screening to check their health status.”
Hisham, however, said tests conducted on the individuals revealed that they are healthy and in no way are exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
“Clinical samples have also been taken from these contacts for the 2019-nCoV detection test and the Johor State Health Department will continue to monitor their health daily for up to 14 days or until they return to their home country whichever comes first” he said.
Hisham also confirmed that until today (Jan 24), no confirmed cases of Wuhan virus have been reported to JKN Johor, nor to MOH.