Mass Testing, Lockdown For Areas With Covid-19 Spike: MOH

Health authorities will do active case detection in areas under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Health authorities said they may impose the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) on districts that report 40 new Covid-19 infections in one or two days and test all residents in those areas.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) focus now was on coronavirus hotspots.

“If there are exponential cases in the hotspots, we’ll do an Enhanced Movement Control Order. Under the EMCO, we’ll screen everyone in the area, we’ll test, identify, isolate, and treat,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference today.

Three sub-districts currently have the EMCO — two villages in Simpang Renggam, Kluang, Johor; seven villages in Hulu Langat, Selangor; and a condominium in Kuala Lumpur — where residents are not allowed to leave their homes.

Dr Noor Hisham pointed out that Kluang initially reported about 80 Covid-19 cases, which have now increased to 111 because of active case detection comprising testing, isolation, and treatment.

Hulu Langat, he said, also initially reported “very low” infections, but the district has now recorded 277 Covid-19 cases as of last night.

“We’re still doing containment while we continue to do the mitigation using the MCO. This is enhanced MCO together with active case detection and isolation.”

MOH tweeted this afternoon 15 hotspots with over 40 coronavirus cases in Malaysia across Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Perak, Kelantan, Sabah, and Sarawak.

The top-three affected districts are Hulu Langat; Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur (238); and Petaling, Selangor (234).

Villagers in Kampung Dato Ibrahim Majid, one of the two areas under the EMCO in Simpang Renggam, told Free Malaysia Today that health authorities have conducted mass testing.

“The villagers are tested according to the different zones, from 9am to 3pm, so no one can escape being tested,” a villager was quoted saying.

Unlike the areas under EMCO, MOH mainly tests people displaying symptoms with overseas travel history or contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case. People who don’t show symptoms of the respiratory disease are only tested if they attended a recent tabligh event at Sri Petaling mosque that has been linked to over 1,000 coronavirus cases, or high-risk groups like Rohingya refugees, some of whom also attended the Muslim religious gathering.

Dr Noor Hisham told CodeBlue that Malaysia’s Covid-19 positive case rate was 7 per cent, following the World Health Organization’s benchmark of sufficient testing. The lower the figure, the better as a high number of positive tests indicates that there are many more undetected cases.

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