Eight Chinese nationals were quarantined at a hotel in Johor Bahru on 24 January after coming into contact with an infected person in neighbouring Singapore. Despite early reports of them testing negative for the virus, three of them were confirmed to be infected on 25 January and subsequently quarantined at the Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor.
Thermal scanners were introduced at border points, and the Malaysian health authorities placed on high alert. Malaysian public have been reminded by local authorities to take precautionary measures in the wake of the virus threat with those travelling to China have been advised to stay away from animal farms and markets in the country and to not eat raw or semi-cooked meats. Following several earlier suspected cases in Sabah’s capital of Kota Kinabalu, all direct flights between the state with China were stopped indefinitely.
On 24 January, a two-year-old child who was suspected to have been infected was detained along with their parents. The parents refused quarantine and were detained the next day by police at Senai International Airport before returning to China. The patient including other who refused quarantine was subsequently placed under close monitoring by the local Health Ministry.
On 26 January, a fourth case of the virus, unconnected to previous cases, was detected. A suspected case was also detected in the state of Kedah’s island of Langkawi involving two female Chinese nationals with both victims quarantined at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital; one later confirmed positive on 29 January. With the increasing number of cases reported in neighbouring Thailand, both the state of Kedah and Penang tightened their borders by conducting stringent checks at its international entry points. A Chinese female national in Bintulu of Sarawak also suspected of having contracted the virus lead to the state tightening its border and postponing direct flights to Hainan, despite a recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) for direct flights with Sarawak.
Of the total of 25 Chinese nationals in Sabah earlier suspected of having contracted the virus, most of them tested negative as of 28 January although one of them later tested positive for the virus when reach China.
Another four suspected cases were recorded in Sarawak on 29 January; five in Kuching and one each in Sibu and Miri. Of the total eight suspected cases in the state, six have tested negative. Within the same day, three additional positive cases were confirmed in West Malaysia, involving a four-year-old child quarantined at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital in Kedah, a 52-year-old man at Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor and a woman at Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor. An eighth case was reported at the Permai Hospital in Johor on the next day. The state of Sarawak began to closed its borders to all Chinese visitors with immediate effect on 1 February, except for people with employment passes, student passes or long-term social visit passes. However, those visitors must undergo a self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
On 4 February, Malaysia announced two new cases, including a 41-year-old local male, which is the first case involving a Malaysian. The case patient had a recent trip to Singapore and is quarantined in Sungai Buloh Hospital. The other case involves a 63-year-old male from China. On the same day, the child patient quarantined at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital had aqcuired a full recovery, discharged from the hospital and allowed to be brought back to China.
On 5 February, two of 107 Malaysians and non-Malaysian family relatives brought back from Wuhan by the Malaysian government tested positive and were quarantined at Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital in Seremban of Negeri Sembilan. They were a 45-year-old man and his nine-year-old son, both Malaysians, bringing the total to 12.