Several cabinet ministers have tested positive for the coronavirus in the span of weeks just this month, as nearly all of Malaysia face strict lockdown restrictions once again in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. The cluster of infections among ministers seems to be growing by the day, with the latest to become infected National Unity Minister Halimah Mohamed Sadique and Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin.
Here’s a developing list of Malaysian ministers who have contracted COVID-19:
Jan. 19: Halimah Mohamed Sadique
National Unity Minister Halimah Mohamed Sadique tested positive for the coronavirus on Jan. 19. The 58-year-old Kota Tinggi MP was later taken to a Johor Bahru hospital.
“Datuk Halimah expresses her heartfelt thanks to those who offer their well-wishes and prayers and would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused,” a statement by the Ministry of Unity said.
Jan. 13: Zahidi Zainul Abidin
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin, 60, was confirmed with the infection on Jan. 13 and was taken to the Sungai Buloh Hospital.
The Padang Besar MP previously tested negative for COVID-19 just after Christmas.
Jan. 12: Hamzah Zainudin
Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin contracted coronavirus after attending a Cabinet meeting on Jan. 6. The Home Affairs Ministry urged those who had come into contact with Hamzah to get tested for the virus.
Update: The 63-year-old has recovered and resumed work on Feb. 2. He told the press that it was a “painful” experience and would need physiotherapy for his lungs.
Jan. 10: Rina Harun
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun, 47, was confirmed with the infection on Jan. 10 after sitting next to Mustapa Mohamed at the same Jan. 6 Cabinet meeting.
Update: She recovered after 20 days in hospital.
Jan. 9: Mustapa Mohamed
Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed tested positive for COVID-19 just days after he attended the Jan. 6 Cabinet meeting. Close contacts Mohd Redzuan Yusof, who is the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, and Saifuddin Abdullah, who is the Communications and Multimedia Minister, were ordered to isolate until they test negative for the virus.
Update: He was discharged after 12 days in hospital – three of which were spent in ICU.
Oct . 5: Zulkifli Al-Bakri
Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Al-Bakri, 52, contracted COVID-19 in October, after campaigning at the Sabah state elections. He was taken to the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital in Seremban, where he stayed for two weeks.
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