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COVID-19 case No. 26 issues statement to explain what happened

KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): UDA Holdings chairman Datuk Hisham Hamdan — who is the 26th confirmed case of Covid-19 in the country and has been linked to 16 other infections — has issued a statement to explain the facts of his particular circumstance, following various news reports on his case.

He said he started exhibiting symptoms on Feb 27, 2020, starting with fever and a cough, which prompted him to go to the SJMC Outpatient Centre to get himself tested on the same day, as he thought he had contracted dengue fever.

“While there, I also specifically requested for the Covid-19 test. After doing the test, I went home and stayed home. On Feb 28, 2020, in the evening, I received my first round of test results stating that I had tested positive.

“I was then asked to proceed to Sungai Buloh Hospital on Feb 29 to be isolated and treated. It was there that my positive results were confirmed,” he said.

While he was the 26th person in Malaysia to be tested positive for the disease, Hisham clarified that it does not necessarily mean he was the 26th person in the country to be infected by Covid-19.

He said there potentially could have been others who had been infected but not tested, and he had accordingly worked with doctors to come up with a contact tracing list, along with colleagues at UDA and Khazanah Nasional Bhd. His family members were also tested, and the results were negative.

However, he said it is “hugely unfortunate” that two individuals were infected through him, namely his driver at UDA as well as the SJMC paramedic who was treating him. The two are currently undergoing treatment.

“The second wave of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia are linked to me, that I think is clear. But being linked to me and having originated from me are two entirely different things. The Ministry of Health is still working diligently and must be applauded for continuing to search for Patient Zero,” Hisham said.

He was present at several meetings between Feb 21 and 27 with individuals who have since been confirmed positive for Covid-19 and reiterated that the ministry is still searching for Patient Zero and that he just happened to be the first person who was tested from the string of meetings.

There were also certain meetings on the morning of Feb 24 with 13 non-UDA board and management individuals, all of whom tested negative.

“I also did attend a Ministry function in my capacity as chairman of UDA on Feb 27, but I would like to clarify that I did not attend any political functions. At this stage, I must also commend Dr. Haikal and Dr. Zaza for arranging a sizeable number of tests for those in UDA and Khazanah who were in close contact with me,” he said.

Hisham also touched on his visit to Shanghai for a conference between Jan 13 and 17.

Up to that point, he said the only confirmed cases in China were from the city of Wuhan, which he never visited, and noted that the first recorded case in Shanghai was on Jan 20.

In Malaysia, on Jan 25, which was a week after he arrived from Shanghai, the Ministry of Health issued an advisory for Malaysians to postpone or avoid travel to China.

On Jan 30, the World Health Organisation officially declared a “public health emergency of international concern”.

“This all happened well after I returned from Shanghai.

“The second issue is that all scientific and medical research we know so far points to the virus having a two-week incubation period. Given that I returned on the Jan 17, and given that I exhibited symptoms on Feb 27, it is – as far as medical research is concerned – not possible for me to have obtained the virus from my trip to Shanghai,” he said.

The earliest close contact patients linked to him, he said, were from a meeting on Feb 21, which was five weeks after he returned.

“Unless new medical research tells us otherwise, it is important to keep the facts, as we know them now, clear — my visit to Shanghai is not linked to my positive confirmation,” he stated again.

In closing, he thanked the medical professionals at the Ministry of Health for their service to the country and called on the public to give their full support and to look at facts before spreading news or opinions.

He also asked the public to respect the confidentiality and privacy of individuals going through their recovery.

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