Stop spreading fake news on Wuhan virus death, urges health ministry

Malaysia has tightened checks on travellers arriving at entry points in the country and advised members of the public to take precautions against the disease. (AP pic)

PETALING JAYA: The health ministry today urged the public against spreading a WhatsApp message that a prisoner in Sandakan had died from the coronavirus.

The ministry, in a Facebook posting, said this was fake news.

It said so far the only confirmed cases were those reported earlier of three tourists from Wuhan, China, staying at a hotel in Johor, who were family members of another coronavirus case in Singapore.

The WhatsApp message claimed the prisoner had earlier been given mandarin oranges. He died after vomiting, it said.

It also urged people to avoid eating such oranges, which are popular during the Chinese New Year.

Meanwhile, health ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also denied a viral message that a Malaysian student studying in Wuhan had returned and was now warded at the Ipoh Hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

“Lab tests from the Institute for Medical Research show it is negative for (novel coronavirus) 2019-nCoV. There is no 2019-nCoV case in Ipoh,” he posted on Facebook.

The coronavirus outbreak, believed to have originated from Wuhan, has killed 41 people so far, including a doctor treating patients, and infected 1,300. It has spread around the world.

China had imposed travel bans in 18 cities, including Wuhan, to prevent the disease from spreading.