PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is free of local transmission of influenza A (H1N1) virus as there had been no contagion among those who had been in contact with the two infected patients, said Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican.

He said all 222 people, who had been placed under home quarantine for being in contact with the two infected patients, would be freed today if they show no symptoms of the disease.

The one-week incubation period started on May 13, the date the duo entered the country, he told reporters here yesterday.

He said those placed under home quarantine were family members of the two patients, passengers of Malaysia Airline flight MH091 and Air Asia flight AK5358 on May 13, and medical personnel, who tested them.

Dr Mohd Ismail said the Health Ministry failed to locate 39 more passengers of both flights and although the quarantine period was over, they should avail themselves for testing.

Both patients, who were isolated at the Sungai Buloh Hospital and Penang Hospital, are reported to be in stable condition and will be discharged today and Friday respectively if they show no symptoms of the disease.

Dr Mohd Ismail advised the public not be unduly worried as the flu originated from abroad and not a local infection.

“However, I advise the public to take a serious view of the disease and get accurate and the latest information from the ministry’s website, or the media,” he said.

Until yesterday, 156 cases, including 22 on Tuesday, had been referred to various hospitals for testing. All were tested negative except for the two infected cases.

Meanwhile, two American citizens, who were placed under quarantine in Sabah for being in contact with an infected Hong Kong citizen on Cathay Pacific flight CX831 from the United States to Hong Kong, are reported to be in good health, said Dr Mohd Ismail.

He said so far 121,185 passengers had been screened at the airports, border checkpoints, ports and jetties.

Asked whether the ministry will step up monitoring for Malaysian students returning from the United States for summer break, he said they would go through the normal process as it would not want to create a panic situation.

Congratulations to Health Ministry. Hope that the worse is over!


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