KUALA LUMPUR -- The new coronavirus from Wuhan, China, was confirmed to have spread to Malaysia on Saturday, with the Southeast Asian country declaring its first three cases.
All three are Chinese nationals -- a woman and her two grandchildren. The woman's husband, the children's 66-year-old grandfather, was the first infected individual confirmed in Singapore.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the Malaysian authorities were alerted by their Singaporean counterparts that family members of the man had crossed from the city-state.
"Right now we have the grandmother and the two young kids in an isolation and observation ward in Sungai Buloh," Dzulkefly said in an emergency news conference. "The mother of the children requested to stay with the kids and we're allowing her to." He also praised Singapore's careful response to the outbreak.
Australia announced its first confirmed case of the virus on Saturday as well. A Chinese man in his 50s, who had been in Wuhan and flew in from Guangzhou last Sunday, was in "stable" condition at a hospital in Melbourne.
Media reports say Nepal confirmed on Friday that a man in his 30s was infected, marking the first case in South Asia. The Nepalese man had returned from Wuhan on Jan. 5. He is also reportedly in stable condition.
Confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have also hit Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the U.S., France, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
Japan's health ministry on Saturday announced the country's third confirmed case. The patient is a female resident of Wuhan in her 30s, who entered Japan on Jan. 18. She has had a fever since Tuesday night.
According to the ministry, the woman said she had not visited the Wuhan seafood market thought to be the starting point of the outbreak. As of Saturday, it was unclear whether she had been in close contact with other patients in China.
The World Health Organization, in its situation report published on Friday, said that one confirmed case in Vietnam suggests "an instance of human-to-human transmission" within the country. The person had no travel history to any part of China, but was a family member of an infected individual who had visited Wuhan, according to the WHO.
This is believed to be the first infection to pass between people outside China.
In China, the death toll from the virus has reached 41, with 1,287 confirmed cases. Chinese media were reporting on Saturday that a doctor on the frontlines of the fight in Wuhan had died from the virus. Wuhan and more than a dozen of cities are under quarantine.