Surge of cases in detention centres worries MoH

The country needs a holistic approach in terms of preventing infection within the foreign workers group, says Health DG

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

THE country is facing a surge of cases among foreigners in overcrowded detention centres, despite strict measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Health Ministry’s (MoH) concerns regarding the detention centres include confined spaces, congestion and overcrowding among the detainees.

He added that the country needs a holistic approach in terms of preventing infection within the foreign workers group.

“We are looking into investigating the cramped cells of the depots as part of our activity to detect the cause of infection.

“However, when it comes to undocumented foreigners, we are also looking into deporting them from the country as soon as possible once they are tested negative for Covid-19,” he said in his daily Covid-19 updates yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham added that it is also possible that some foreign workers, who were screened for Covid-19 during the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), might have tested negative as the virus was still in its incubation period.

However, he said, when they were later brought to the Immigration Department’s detention depots, they were infected by other detainees.

Yesterday saw a huge jump of 277 new Covid-19 cases, with the majority involving 271 foreigners.

Of these, 270 cases were detected at the Bukit Jalil immigration depot in Kuala Lumpur (KL), while one case was detected at a construction site in Pudu, also in KL.

Only four of the new cases comprised of Malaysians, while the remaining two are imported cases.

Among the active cases, six are currently placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) with two requiring respiratory aid.

The three-digit increase in new cases has pushed the current active cases to 1,573 and the country’s overall total to 8,247 (as at press time).

Meanwhile, 28 patients have recovered, bringing the recovered cases percentage to 79.5%, which equals to 6,559 as of yesterday.

No new deaths have been reported for more than a week now, as the country’s death tally remains unchanged at 115.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham also highlighted that the outbreak of the Covid-19 among Malaysians has reached one-digit number with no sharp increase reported so far.

He said the numbers of cases in the traditional ward of Covid-19 and ICUs are also going down.

“The positive development is the result of aggressive public health action being carried out in the (Covid-19) field by district health offices in collaboration with various parties.

“The same approach is now being used to further control the spread of the virus involving citizens and non-citizens,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that the approach covers investigations of Covid-19 cases in the field, including close contacts of confirmed patients, active case-by-case monitoring and targeted screening activities.

He also said the implementation of EMCO in various districts and states has played major roles in all these activities.

“This is one of the key factors that has shown success as it is being done simultaneously across the country,” he added.