New Covid-19 cases surge by 62, highest since June

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BERNAMA

THE country recorded a massive jump of 62 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, involving 56 local transmissions and six imported cases.

Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of the local cases yesterday, the majority or 50 cases were linked to the Benteng Lahad Datu (LD) Cluster in Sabah.

He said based on the risk analysis conducted, the transmission factor for this cluster is cramped and crowded conditions of the lockups.

“Imprisonment made physical distancing difficult. This is a major contributor to the Covid-19 transmission among prisoners and had caused a rapid spread.

“Thus, adherence to the standard operating procedures is important and should be practiced regardless of time and place,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said within a period of seven days, a total of 1,404 people from the Benteng LD Cluster had been screened and 66 positive cases were detected with a positivity rate of 4.7%.

Of the 66 positive cases from the cluster, 64 were inmates while two more comprised a prison guard and his nephew.

The other local cases yesterday involved four cases in Kedah, one in Penang and Sabah each.

The increase in new cases yesterday brought the country’s overall total to 9,459.

There are now 207 active Covid-19 cases that are being treated at health facilities nationwide. Among the active cases yesterday, six were placed in the intensive care unit, with four requiring respiratory aid.

Nine patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the total recovered cases in the country to 9,124 or 96.5%. No new death was recorded, maintaining Malaysia’s Covid-19 fatality toll at 128.

Dr Noor Hisham also announced a new cluster in Kedah, Sungai Cluster, which has two confirmed cases involving healthcare workers. Both were admitted to Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar for isolation and treatment.

Active case tracking and close contact screening for this cluster are being carried out. As of yesterday, a total of 57 people from the Sungai Cluster have been screened.

Two tested positive and 55 are still awaiting results. Separately, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said a total of 24,781 individuals have returned to the country through international check points between July 24 and Sept 6.

They have all been placed at 67 hotels and four public training institutes nationwide.

“Of that number, 9,842 individuals are undergoing mandatory quarantine, while 66 were sent to hospitals for treatment.

“Meanwhile, 14,873 individuals have been allowed to return home,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He noted that the returnees were from 32 countries, namely the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, East Timor, Taiwan, China, the UK, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Egypt, Spain, France, Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Meanwhile, the police detained 873 people on Sept 6 for violating the Recovery Movement Control Order. Ismail Sabri said 580 individuals were arrested for taking part in pub and nightclub activities.

The taskforce also conducted 58,147 checks on transport terminals, hawkers, factories, government offices and banks.

Under Ops Benteng, the police conducted 79 roadblocks nationwide and managed to detain 30 illegal immigrants and four smugglers.