New Covid-19 cluster among students returning from Indonesia

The cluster comprises 43 students returning from Temboro, which has been declared a red zone, says Health DG

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE Health Ministry (MoH) identified a new cluster of Covid-19 from Malaysian students who had returned from Indonesia.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) said the new cluster was detected from a group of students returning from the Magetan regency in East Java, Indonesia, which has been identified as a Covid-19 red zone by the Indonesian government.

“A new cluster has been detected at the international entrance where positive cases are detected among Malaysians who returned from Indonesia via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on April 16.

“The cluster comprises 43 students returning from Temboro, which is a place that has been declared a red zone in the Magetan district,”he said in his daily press briefing yesterday.

He added that of the total, 34 have been quarantined in Melaka and nine in Kuala Lumpur.

“This shows that the government has taken the right step to quarantine and screen all Malaysians returning from overseas. This is to ensure that imported cases do not infect others in the country,” he said.

As of noon yesterday, the country reported 84 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 5,389 cases nationwide.

Of the total, 2,103 were still being treated, while 3,197 patients recovered. There were 46 patients in the intensive care unit, with 26 cases needing respiratory assistance.

Dr Noor Hisham added that one Covid-19 death was reported yesterday, involving a 51-year-old Malaysian man with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease.

“The most recent death brings the total to 89. He was in close contact with a Covid-19 positive case and was treated at the Enche’ Besar Hajjah Khalsom Hospital in Johor on April 13, before passing away at 6.47pm,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham also said MoH will start clinical trials soon to test the safety and effectiveness of the Remdesivir drug in treating Covid-19.

He added that nine hospitals, which are taking part in the World Health Organisation’s solidarity trials, are ready to select participants from among Covid-19 patients fulfilling the necessary criteria.

“The Medical Research and Ethics Committee are working with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, which acts as the regulatory body, to approve the use of the drug in clinical trials,” he said.

Additionally, Dr Noor Hisham noted that the medical experts who arrived from China on Saturday are here to share their knowledge on the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that Malaysia is keen to learn not only from the successes, but also the less-than-effective public health measures that were implemented to contain Covid-19 in China.

“It is not just the positive cases that we discussed, there were some measures that the Chinese medical experts had done that were not successful. We would like to learn from those unsuccessful measures so that we do not repeat them.

“During our discussions, a lot of issues were raised, from the treatment of patients to issues of education, detention and specific techniques,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham also clarified that the Chinese medical experts are not here to treat patients, but to help public health officials here to better understand the pandemic, which is crucial to combat the outbreak.