Chinese Parents Arrested in Malaysia for Removing Son From Coronavirus Quarantine

January 26, 2020 Updated: January 29, 2020
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The parents of a 2-year-old Chinese boy suspected of contracting the novel coronavirus have allegedly been detained by police after attempting to remove him from quarantine at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) in Johor, Malaysia, the New Straits Times reports.

According to the outlet, the couple was intercepted by officials at the Senai International Airport at 9:20 p.m. local time on Jan. 25 as they attempted to return to the city at the center of the outbreak, Wuhan, which has been placed under quarantine.

The couple was arrested and handed over to Johor health authorities before being placed in an isolation ward at the same hospital.

A doctor at HSA allegedly filed a police report against the parents on the night they attempted to flee after they refused to let their son be quarantined and sent for further examinations, instead of removing him from the hospital.

The report allegedly says the child was referred to the hospital by a private hospital and had influenza-like symptoms and was suspected to have the coronavirus.

Malaysia on Saturday, Jan. 25, recorded its first confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and said that three Chinese nationals had tested positive for the disease.

Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the three people are the wife and grandsons of a 66-year-old man and his son from Wuhan who was earlier diagnosed with the virus in neighboring Singapore, Reuters reported.

They were admitted to Sungai Buloh Hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment and are in stable condition, the health minister told reporters at a news conference

The following jurisdictions outside of China have detected patients who have tested positive for 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus):

  • Hong Kong: 5
  • Macao: 5
  • Taiwan: 3
  • Thailand: 5
  • Japan: 3
  • South Korea: 3
  • Singapore: 4
  • Malaysia: 4
  • Vietnam: 2
  • Nepal: 1
  • France: 3
  • Australia: 4
  • United States: 2
  • Canada: 1

All public transport services have been suspended in the city of Wuhan, which has a population of 11 million, as authorities attempt to contain the virus, and several countries have implemented health screening of travelers arriving from Wuhan.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has recommended against nonessential travel to Wuhan and suggested that anyone who has traveled to China in the last 14 days and feels sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should urgently seek medical care.

Health experts have been comparing the Wuhan virus with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), all belonging to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses which are believed to have originated from animals before spreading to humans.

Health experts do not yet know which animal may have caused the current outbreak in Wuhan however, the first people infected by the virus had visited or worked at the Wuhan South China Seafood City, also known as the South China Seafood Wholesale Market and the Hua Nan Seafood Market.

Symptoms of the virus include sickness, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and sometimes a headache which may last for a few days. It is usually accompanied by an upper respiratory tract illness and can be more severe in older people.

A previous version of this article gave the incorrect location in the headline and lead. The Epoch Times regrets the errors.