Six biggest Covid-19 clusters in Malaysia

The clusters have become the major contributor to the country’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves of Covid-19 outbreak

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by ARIF KARTONO

MALAYSIA, as of Jan 2, recorded a total of 523 Covid-19 clusters.

With 294 clusters officially terminated, there are currently 229 active clusters.

According to a report by the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy, a Covid-19 cluster, as defined in Malaysia, can be as small as two people, which comprises the index case or the person first discovered with the virus in an outbreak and a close contact.

The report added that apart from identifying a cluster, it is also crucial for the Health Ministry (MoH) to measure the positivity rate of a cluster to depict the current level of Covid-19 transmission in the community and identify if the country is conducting enough testing.

Following the growing number of clusters, the MoH has continuously stressed on the compliance of the standard operating procedures upon Malaysians, especially when attending any type of large gathering or while in public places.

This is to avoid the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters, as assemblies without SOP compliance will increase the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

As it is, existing clusters are contributing towards the daily increase of new cases in the country.

Additionally, there are also clusters which have become the major contributor to the country’s first, second and third waves of Covid-19 outbreak.

To recap, The Malaysian Reserve has compiled the six biggest and most infamous Covid-19 clusters in the country to date.

It is also worth noting that a majority of these clusters are still active while one has ended.

The following clusters were ranked from the highest to lowest number of total positive cases.

Teratai Cluster

The Teratai cluster was discovered on Nov 7, involving the districts of Klang, Kuala Selangor, Petaling and Hulu Langat in the state of Selangor.

The cluster is closely linked to the world’s largest glove manufacturer, Top Glove Corp Bhd, which temporarily shut down 28 of its factories in stages due to a significant increase in Covid-19 cases among its workers.

The Top Glove factories are located along Jalan Teratai in Meru, Klang. Hence, the cluster is known as the Teratai cluster.

However, Top Glove’s highest officials clarified that the Teratai cluster does not only involve its company, but factories operated by other companies as well.

Dr Noor Hisham reports that the Damanlela Construction Site cluster is now in its 6th generation – Pic by Razak Ghazali

Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the virus in the cluster has spread beyond the factory workers’ circle and spawned a second generation of infections.

This has resulted in new cases linked to this cluster to be found in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Putrajaya.

The index case for this cluster (35,263th case) was first identified on Nov 2, as a result of individual screening.

As of Jan 2, the country’s biggest Covid-19 cluster recorded a total of 6,253 positive cases.

Sri Petaling Tabligh Cluster

This cluster originated from a religious gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque in KL, which took place from Feb 27 to March 3.

It was reported that the gathering was attended by some 15,000 to 16,000 people, including 1,500 foreigners.

On March 9, Brunei announced its first case from a man who attended this event.

Since then, it became the biggest and longest-running cluster detected in the country, in which it was first declared active on March 11.

The infamous cluster, which put the country into lockdown on March 18, infected a total of 3,375 people, of which 2,550 were Malaysians.

Foreigners in this cluster were from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Kyrgyzstan, Brunei, Nepal, Nigeria, Fiji, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Singapore, the US, Kenya, Maldives, Egypt, Somalia, Tunisia and Yemen.

Additionally, the cluster also generated 17 sub-clusters, namely the KL wholesale market, Sungai Lui, Bandar Baru Ibrahim Majid, Selangor Mansion, Bandar Baru Bangi wedding, Sungai Salan religious school, Rembau, Ayer Merbau religious school, Kuching SP, PKNS flat, Menara Plaza City One, Jalan Othman market, Pasir Gudang Edible Oil, Pekan, Malayan Mansion, Penanti religious school and Selayang daily market.

On July 8, the Sri Petaling Tabligh cluster was terminated as there were no new cases detected for 28 consecutive days.

Up to then, the cluster made up 38.9% of all cases in Malaysia, affecting a total of seven states.

Tembok Cluster

The Tembok cluster was detected at the Alor Setar Prison in Kedah on Sept 30, following the death of a 46-year-old man who had worked there.

A post-mortem found the man to have been infected with the virus.

Subsequently, close contact screenings discovered that the virus had spread among prison inmates.

The government then imposed the Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) at the prison and its staff quarters for 14 days beginning Oct 4.

Dr Noor Hisham previously assured that the Tembok cluster was isolated from the community, as the outbreak took place in the prison.

However, the cluster has gone beyond the prison to several districts in Kedah and Perak, namely Kota Setar, Baling, Kuala Muda, Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Sik, Larut Matang, Selama, Hilir Perak and Kinta.

The spread is said to be among family members of former detainees infected with Covid-19.

The cluster became one the biggest and most active clusters in the country, with a total of 3,165 cases as of Jan 2.

Damanlela Construction Site Cluster

This cluster was detected on Nov 7, involving Lembah Pantai, Kepong, Titiwangsa, and KL.

The cluster was linked to a mall construction site in Damansara, in which the index case was detected through a detainee screening on Nov 6.

Dr Noor Hisham recently stated that the construction site cluster is now in its sixth generation.

The virus from this cluster has spread to nearby localities including Cheras, Gombak, Kuala Selangor, Petaling, Hulu Langat and Hulu Selangor.

The EMCO was enforced at construction sites involving the Damanlela cluster.

As of Jan 2, the cluster recorded 2,738 positive cases.

Jalan Harapan Prison Cluster

Another rapidly growing cluster in the country, the Jalan Harapan Prison cluster, was first identified on Nov 21.

The index case was identified through a screening practice among inmates which was carried out on Nov 17.

As of Jan 2, the cluster reported 2,498 cases.

Hentian Cluster

The Hentian cluster was first identified in Hulu Langat on Oct 15, as a result of symptomatic screening.

Later, the cluster spread to Petaling, Sepang, Klang, Gombak, Kuala Langat, Cheras, Titiwangsa, Putrajaya and Seremban, Negri Sembilan.

This cluster mostly involves foreign workers at the Plaza Hentian Kajang bus terminal.

Following that, the government imposed the EMCO on Oct 28, which was lifted on schedule due to a downtrend in cases.

However, the cluster began to record a new spike recently, in which the overall cases have totalled up to 2,286.

Dr Noor Hisham said this was due to the mandatory Covid-19 screening among foreign workers which was recently implemented by the government.


Read our earlier report

 

Workplace clusters emerge as main contributor for Covid-19 infections