Most new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia involve illegal migrants
PUTRAJAYA — New Covid-19 cases in Malaysia exceeded 100 for the first time since May 3, with a majority of them involving undocumented migrants.
The figures over the next few days are expected to be higher with the release of more test results.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said another 172 positive cases were recorded as at noon yesterday, bringing the total cases in Malaysia to 7,417.
“Five of them were imported cases. Out of the 167 local transmissions, 159 involved non-citizens, where 112 were detected at three immigration detention centers,” he told reporters Monday.
There are 18 such centers under the Immigration Department nationwide, including four temporary ones.
“We have screened those in three centers in Semenyih, Bukit Jalil and Sepang.
“Everyone, including the detainees and staff, was screened, just like how it’s done at areas where the enhanced movement control order (MCO) has been implemented,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said a new cluster was detected at the Sepang detention depot, where 1,346 detainees had been screened, with 36 testing positive.
“Test results are pending for 873 samples,” he said, adding that 540 of the total of 1,449 samples taken at the center had tested negative.
At the Bukit Jalil detention depot, 1,422 samples have been taken from the detainees. Of these, 126 tested positive, while the results are pending for 896 samples.
As for the Semenyih center, he said 1,757 samples had been taken, involving 1,630 detainees and 127 staff members.
“A total of 66 have tested positive, including an employee.
“We are investigating if the employee contracted the virus from the detainees or from within the community,” he said, adding that officers and personnel from all three detention depots had been quarantined and replaced by new staff members.
“Disinfection has been done, and so has screening and investigation. There’s a possibility the infection could have been due to the confined spaces,” he said.
There are 227 positive cases from the three detention depots involving undocumented migrants so far, with those from Bangladesh recording the highest number at 53 cases.
The rest are from India (41), Indonesia (38), Myanmar (37), Pakistan (28), China (17), Cambodia (4), Nepal (3), Sri Lanka (2) and one each from the Philippines, Libya, Egypt and Syria.
Dr Noor Hisham, however, advised the public not to worry about the increase in the number of positive cases detected at the detention depots, as the premises were in isolated areas and under surveillance by the authorities.
“The ministry will continue to cooperate with the Immigration Department, the police and other government agencies to manage the cases involving detention depots.
“For example, (we conduct) investigation, close contact tracing, risk assessment by relevant agencies, active screening for symptoms and samples for case detection and education.
“The positive cases are isolated and treated at hospitals; and close contacts are placed under observation and surveillance,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said this year’s Hari Raya was very unique.
“We are celebrating Aidilfitri in a closed-door manner but our hearts remain open.
“God willing, we will break the chain of infection,” he said.
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