Sivagangga cluster spreader jailed 5 months, fined

Those who violate the HSO will no longer be issued compounds as the authorities will take them to court instead, says Ismail Sabri

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by BLOOMBERG

THE owner of the nasi kandar restaurant linked to the Sivagangga Covid-19 cluster in Kedah was sentenced to five months’ jail and fined RM12,000 yesterday.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the authorities viewed the offence seriously amid growing concerns over the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters nationwide.

“The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has taken action against the individual in the Sivagangga cluster for defying a home quarantine order.

“As we know, this individual was supposed to be under Home Surveillance Order (HSO), instead went out to open his restaurant. As a result, few villages in Kedah and Perlis had to be locked down because of this individual’s failure to observe the regulations,” he said.

According to the minister, those who violate the HSO will no longer be issued compounds as the authorities will take them to court instead.

As of noon yesterday, police have arrested 184 people for various Recovery Movement Control Order offences, with 49 of them remanded, while the remaining were issued compounds.

Ismail Sabri also said foreigners arriving in the country are required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine, and bear the cost for quarantine and Covid-19 test fees before proceeding to dedicated quarantine centres.

Those who fail to do so would be subjected to “Not-To-Land” directive or not allowed to enter by the Immigration Department.

“The government is taking seriously incidence of foreigners refusing to pay quarantine charges and Covid-19 testing fees.

“There are cases of foreigners refusing to pay after the quarantine session. Therefore, we decided that payment should be made upon arrival,” he said.

He added that those who refused to pay will not be permitted to leave the airport.

Additionally, the senior minister said the Malaysian League match is scheduled to take place on Aug 26 without the presence of spectators.

“The decision was made after taking into account the advice of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the organisers need to ensure all the guidelines set are complied with,” he added.

Separately, MoH said it has not received any research or data related to Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry does not know the effectiveness or the viability of the vaccine involved in treating Covid-19 patients in the country.

“Many questions arise as to whether this vaccine is effective or not. This includes the doubts of whether it is permanent in treating the Covid-19 virus or should a ‘booster’ be implemented.

“We are still waiting for the study. Only then, we can know whether this vaccine is effective or not. So far, we have only received reports from news agencies and no scientific evidence says it is effective,” he said in his Covid-19 press conference yesterday.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his government had registered the world’s first vaccine for Covid-19.

The Covid-19 vaccine was named “Sputnik V” in conjunction with the country’s satellite, through a three-phase test starting yesterday and mass production is expected to be done by September.

Meanwhile, Malaysia recorded 15 new Covid-19 positive cases yesterday involving 11 local transmissions and four import cases.

The increase in new cases yesterday brought the country’s overall total to 9,129. The death tally remained at 125.

Dr Noor Hisham said a new Covid-19 cluster was detected in Tawar, Kedah, from a man who attended a funeral.

The first case of the Tawar cluster involved a Malaysian man who was tested for the virus on Aug 11.

“Around 30 people attended the funeral and he began experiencing chest pains and fever symptoms. He was immediately sent to a medical centre on Aug 8.

“To date, 86 people related to this cluster have been screened including family members, hospital staffs and other contacts,” he said.