Dr Noor Hisham: Covid-19 Infection Already In Community, Not Just In Sabah – “ Every Kampung, Every Family, & Every Individual In This Community”

“This is one cluster we are worried, because the virus is already in the community and infecting many individuals. Perhaps in a period of a week, we will continue to increase the screening for the community, every kampung, every family, every individual in this community that is the kampung in Bangau-Bangau will be screened and tested and those positive cases will be isolated.”

The transmission of the Covid-19 virus in the community is no longer limited to Sabah, Health director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

However, he said the Health Ministry is not insisting on the 14-day mandatory quarantine for those who test negative or do not show any symptoms of the illness even as the rate of infected rises.

“We’ve noticed the infection is in the community already and not just in Sabah. We are doing active surveillance, public health interventions and have a targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO) at Lahad Datu, Kunak, Tawau and Semporna to control the spread,” he said today during his Covid-19 media briefing.

Instead, he said the ministry will be relying on self-regulation and self-isolation.

He also urged those who have difficulty self-quarantining at home to get in touch with the ministry to arrange to be housed in a quarantine centre.

“Those found negative and although they’re required to undergo mandatory quarantine, we advise them if possible, to avoid contact with anyone. More importantly, they must comply with the one-metre distancing.

“If symptoms arise, please come to the clinic and hospitals.

“Remember, positive cases elsewhere have been isolating at home, these are negative cases who have had no contact with other patients and no symptoms so we advise them to self-regulate,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

“The MOH needs everyone’s cooperation in order to curb the spread of the infection, so do continue to adhere to the new norms.”

He noted that some had faced difficulty self-quarantining at home due to space constraints or the inability to access daily essentials like food and other amenities.

As such, Dr Noor Hisham advised them to contact their nearest medical centre or MOH and ask if they can be boarded at one of the quarantine centres until they are cleared for release.

He also said that he was aware of the people’s concerns that those told to quarantine at home may not adhere to it, citing the Sivagangga cluster as an example. The cluster began with non-compliance of a returnee from abroad to Malaysia with home quarantine requirements.

The index patient in the Sivagangga cluster was a restaurant owner who is a permanent resident in Malaysia, and had initially tested negative for Covid-19 at KLIA upon his return from Sivagangga, India on July 13.

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But the 57-year-old operator of a restaurant in the Hosba “mukim” (parish) in Kedah’s Kubang Pasu district did not comply with the home surveillance order and later tested positive on July 28 for Covid-19 on a repeated screening.

By July 28, a total of 28 of the restaurant owner’s close contacts were screened, with five living in the same household as him testing positive ― his Malaysian son and four non-Malaysian employees.

On the same day, Malaysia had a total of 25 active Covid-19 clusters nationwide, including this cluster.

“The main concept here is home or centre. Some can do well at home, in fact 70 per cent can. Only the one or two cases don’t adhere to the new norms so that does not mean we must punish the rest,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

“PUI (persons under investigation) and PUS (persons under suspicion) are definitely going in for the 14-day quarantine period that has not changed. But negative cases with no contact and no symptoms that’s the issue here. That’s why we are asking them to quarantine themselves.

“We cannot win the war alone, we need everyone’s help to fight the battle by continuing to adhere to the new norms.”

“ Every Kampung, Every Family, & Every Individual In This Community”

One new cluster in Johor involved cases who travelled to Sabah, while a new cluster in Selangor was discovered in a screening of undocumented immigrants in Klang.

In 10 days, Covid-19 has spread from Sabah to all other states in Malaysia, as cases reported today hit Perak and Perlis that did not record new infections for seven and three weeks respectively.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said 63 cases so far have transmitted coronavirus to other parts of the country since September 20, including 17 new cases reported today.

Since then, Covid-19 cases who previously travelled to Sabah have been reported in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor, Melaka, and today, the northern states of Kedah, Perak, Penang, and Perlis, as well as Putrajaya.

Sarawak previously reported on September 27 two Covid-19 cases in Lawas, neighbouring Sabah, with the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) saying that although early investigations showed the two frontliners at the Sarawak-Sabah border post did not travel to red zones in Sabah, it was likely they got infected in the course of their duty at the border.

Today, Kelantan, Penang, Perak, Melaka, Perlis, Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya recorded one Covid-19 case each respectively; all of the cases had Sabah travel history, considered by MOH to be a high-risk place. Selangor today reported nine new cases who previously visited Sabah.

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Perak reported its last three Covid-19 cases nearly two months ago on August 10 under the Kurau cluster. The state remained in the green zone with zero new infections from August 24 until yesterday. Perlis last reported a coronavirus case three weeks ago on September 8 from the Sungai cluster.

MOH’s 14-day moving charts still show many states and districts in green (zero new local cases within the past fortnight) because the charts exclude inter-district and inter-state cases.

A new cluster in Johor reported today with four positive cases so far involved people with Sabah travel history. The Jalan Apas cluster in Selangor reported yesterday, which currently has nine cases (including one new case today), involved a couple who had travelled to Tawau and Semporna in Sabah. The Setapak cluster reported on September 27 in Kuala Lumpur, with three cases, similarly involved a case who had visited Tawau and Semporna.

Authorities have enforced mandatory testing at airports for arrivals from Sabah since September 27, after the Sabah state election, with people sent to home quarantine pending their test results.

Covid-19 Cases In Sabah

Sabah recorded a total of 73 new Covid-19 cases today, comprising 70 Malaysians and three foreigners.

In Sabah, a total of 51 cases were reported from the Bangau-Bangau cluster, involving 48 cases among Malaysians and three foreigners. The Benteng Lahad Datu cluster and Kuarters Cluster registered two cases each.

Two new clusters — the Jalan Bomba cluster and Jalan Utara cluster, both in Sandakan — recorded three and two cases respectively.

The index patient (Patient 11,110) of the newly found Jalan Bomba cluster was a Malaysian man who travelled to Semporna on September 20. The patient showed symptoms like fever and cough and tested positive for Covid-19 on September 28.

The results of close contact screening found two more positive cases under this cluster on September 28. The cause of the infection is still under investigation.

The second cluster in Sabah identified today, the Jalan Utara cluster, involved a health worker in a training institute in Sandakan. Two symptomatic health workers were positively detected with Covid-19 on September 28, under this cluster. The cause of the infection is still under investigation.

Sabah recorded 11 unlinked community cases today. Of them, eight people were detected positive in symptomatic screenings, while one case was tested positive in a referral screening to Sandakan Hospital. Another two cases were detected among a health worker during a screening and a citizen was detected positive with the coronavirus in a community screening.

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A close contact of Patient 11,119 also contracted Covid-19 in Sabah and another person tested positive at a Sabah airport.

Covid-19 Cases In Selangor

Today, Selangor registered 14 new Covid-19 cases, including nine Malaysians who returned from Sabah.

Two close contact contacts of Patient 10,776 and Patient 11,129 tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Jalan Apas cluster recorded a new case today, while another case was detected in a screening before returning to their home country.

A Covid-19 case emerged from a new cluster, namely, the Benteng PK cluster. This cluster was identified as a result of a screening of undocumented immigrants in Klang, Selangor.

The screening that was conducted from September 16 to 25 found eight undocumented immigrants with Covid-19. A police officer also tested positive in a close contact screening on September 28. To date, a total of 148 individuals have been screened in this cluster, with nine positive cases and 139 negative cases.

Covid-19 Cases In Johor

Johor recorded two new Covid-19 cases in the state under the newly identified Bakawali cluster. The index cases (Patient 10,911 and Patient 10,912) of this cluster are a Malaysian married couple who had travelled to Semporna from September 13 to 18.

Both of them had fever, flu and cough on September 24 and tested positive for Covid-19 on September 26.

The results of close contact screening found two more positive cases under this cluster. As of September 29, a total of 25 individuals have been screened, with a total of four Covid-19 cases, while 13 individuals tested negative. Eight people are still waiting for the test results.

The causes of infection is still under investigation.

Of the 101 Covid-19 cases today, all of the four imported cases were reported in Sarawak among returnees from Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

A total of 50 Covid-19 patients have been discharged today, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 9,939.

A total of 1,062 patients are actively receiving treatment in hospitals with 13 people in intensive care unit, including five under ventilator support.

So far, of the total 11,135 Covid-19 cases, Malaysia has recorded 134 fatalities. This means that the Covid-19 death rate of the country is at 1.20 per cent.

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