COVID-19 recurring cases worrying, says minister

Izah Azahari

The development of patients testing positive again for COVID-19 is very worrying, as there is still uncertainty of how the new virus infects and how it will evolve, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at a press conference at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday.

Following the recent discovery of one recurring patient, seven more were found to have tested positive again for the coronavirus, bringing the total so far to eight.

“This means there are a plenty of things to learn, therefore information-sharing between neighbouring and regional countries is very important,” said the minister, adding, “The uncertainty is also whether the virus is infectious or not, the second time around in these recurring patients.”

He further explained, “There are ways of testing whether the virus is active or dead, but as the virus is lethal, it is not recommended to carry out those tests, even by the World Health Organization (WHO), as this test would require the virus to be cultured. That may be harmful to those carrying it out, as well as for those in the vicinity, so other methods must be employed.” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham also announced that a re-swab of the other recovered patients would be continued, starting on the 11th day of their discharge from the National Isolation Centre (NIC).

At the same time, he updated on the status of the family members of one recurring patient, who were all swabbed and tested negative for COVID-19.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar
Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the press conference. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS