Covid-19: 147 new cases, ‘Udin’ cluster found in Sabah

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BERNAMA

THE Ministry of Health (MoH) recorded a soaring 147 Covid-19 positive cases yesterday, with three new fatalities.

Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of the total, 143 cases were local transmissions, while the remaining four were imported cases.

“Sabah recorded the majority number of cases with a total of 134. Kedah recorded five cases, Selangor two, while Kelantan and Kuala Lumpur (KL) each reported one case respectively.

“All the imported cases yesterday were reported in KL which involved three Malaysians and one foreigner,” he said in his Covid-19 statement yesterday.

The new cases yesterday brought the country’s overall total to 10,505 with 770 active ones being treated at health facilities nationwide, among which, eight have been placed in the intensive care unit, with two of them requiring respiratory aid.

Thirty-nine patients were discharged yesterday, increasing the total recovered cases in the country to 9,602, which equalled 91.4%.

Three new fatalities were recorded involving two cases in Sabah and one case in Kedah, bringing the country’s death toll to 133.

Dr Noor Hisham also said the ministry identified another new cluster in Tawau, Sabah, called the “Udin” cluster, which had infected three individuals.

He added that the cluster’s index case (9,894th case) involved a 72-year-old local woman, who tested positive for Covid-19 from a screening conducted at the Merotai Health Clinic in Tawau on Sept 12.

“Following that, close contact screening was carried out and two more tested positive to Covid-19 on Sept 22.

“Both of these positive cases involve Filipinos. They have no symptoms and have been admitted to Tawau Hospital for treatment,” he noted.

Dr Noor Hisham said, as of noon yesterday, a total of 128 individuals linked to this cluster were screened, of which three tested positive, 71 negative and 54 are awaiting results.

“Infection prevention measures including disinfection and cleaning processes are being carried out at the location, while the cause of the infection is still under investigation,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry had increased the Covid-19 laboratory tests in Sabah to 2,500 tests per day due to the spike of new cases. MoH was able to conduct the Rapid Test Kit-Antigen test in 23 hospital and 26 health clinic laboratories in Sabah.

He added that MoH also increased the capacity of laboratories that can conduct the Real-Time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction tests as one of the preparedness measures.

“If the Covid-19 test in Sabah reaches 2,500 tests per day, the remaining Covid-19 samples will be sent from Sabah to the peninsula using the services of the Royal Malaysian Air Force and private courier service to the Medical Research Institute to accommodate additional sample testing,” he noted.

Besides that, MoH is also waiting for the delivery of Genexpert Covid-19 cassettes from the World Health Organisation to be used at the Tawau, Sandakan and Lahad Datu Hospitals.

The Genexpert machine with four drawers can conduct 40 tests a day.

Separately, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the police arrested 65 people on Sept 22 for violating the Recovery Movement Control Order.

He added that the operation task force led by the police also conducted 52,294 inspections on premises nationwide.

“Under Ops Benteng, the authorities managed to arrest 32 undocumented migrants, four smugglers and one middleman.

“A total of 82 roadblocks were also conducted by the police together with the authorities from the Malaysian Armed Forces,” he said in a statement yesterday.

On mandatory quarantine, Ismail Sabri said 32,963 individuals returned to the country via international entry points.

Of this number, 8,240 are undergoing mandatory quarantine and 71 have been sent to hospitals for treatment, while 24,652 individuals have been discharged and allowed to return home.