COVID-19: Eighth cluster detected in Sabah – Health DG


The Health Ministry (MOH) has reported another new COVID-19 cluster in Sabah, the eighth in the state, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

The new cluster, named the Udin cluster was detected in Tawau, with its index case (case 9894) involving a 72-year-old local woman, this after she underwent screening at the Merotai Health Clinic in Tawau on Sept 12.

Following this, close contact tracing was done and two more positive cases were detected yesterday, both involving Filipinos who were asymptomatic and who are now being treated at the Tawau hospital.

“To date, 128 people have been screened, with three testing positive, 71 negative while 54 more are awaiting results. The source of infection is being investigated,” he said in a statement.

On active clusters, he said four more clusters in Sabah recorded an increase in new cases, namely the Benteng LD, Bangau-Bangau, Laut and Pulau clusters while in Kedah, the Sungai cluster also saw an increase in new cases.

The Benteng LD cluster reported another 105 cases, taking its total to 729 cases so far; while eight new cases were recorded for Bangau Bangau (total 13 cases) and Laut (total 12 cases), two for Pulau (total 37 cases) and four more for Sungai (total 87 cases).

Following the surge in COVID-19 cases in Sabah, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry will strengthen preparedness efforts through 23 hospital laboratories and 22 MOH health clinic laboratories that carry out Rapid Test Kit-Antigen (RTK-Ag) testing.

It will also increase real-time Reverse-Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) laboratory capacity in the state to 2,500 tests a day.

“If the number (COVID-19 testing) surpasses 2,500 a day, the surplus samples will be sent to the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) via Royal Malaysian Air Force flights and courier services.

He said the MOH was now working on developing a molecular laboratory at the Tawau Hospital, in addition to waiting for the delivery of GeneXpert COVID-19 cassettes from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for use at the Tawau, Sandakan Hospital and Lahad Datu hospitals.