Covid-19 Cluster Breaks Out At Immigration Detention Centre

210 people at the Bukit Jalil immigration detention depot are still awaiting test results.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported a new Covid-19 cluster at an immigration detention depot in Bukit Jalil here with 35 cases among foreigners.

As of today, as many as 645 individuals at the immigration detention centre were screened for Covid-19, where 35 of them tested positive for the coronavirus, 400 were negative, while 210 are still waiting for their test results.

Of the 35 Covid-19 positive cases, 17 individuals were Myanmar nationals, 15 were Indians, one from Sri Lanka, one from Bangladesh, and one from Egypt.

Today’s 50 new Covid-19 cases includes 34 cases at the Bukit Jalil immigration detention depot.

MOH reported that various prevention and control activities have been carried out since the formation of the new Covid-19 cluster, such as disinfection and health education, and the cause of the infection is reportedly still under investigation.

“We are still investigating, and they were detained even before the MCO (Movement Control Order) 1 that was implemented on March 18, 2020. Some of them were then already deported, and we were informed that whenever they were screened in their respective home countries, some of them tested positive.

“We were informed by the International Health Regulations Committee and we did the screening. When we did the screening, there were those who presented with symptoms and we did screen and run the test, and they tested positive,” said Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at a press conference today.

To detect causes of the Covid-19 transmissions, the MOH will be using a targeted testing approach to investigate the relevant parties involved in this new Covid-19 cluster, with continued collaboration with the Immigration Department, the police, and other government agencies.

“What we are doing now is we are screening all of them in Block A, and that involves those who have been detained and the result is that there are 34 positive cases, and yesterday there was an additional case, which means that it is a total of 35 positive cases.

“Now these positive cases have been separated and are given treatment, and we are now doing contact tracing or tracking their close contacts, which means that we will also quarantine their close contacts,” explained Dr Noor Hisham.

MOH also reported to have provided health services to all detention centres on a regular basis. These services are provided by a health team, which includes medical officers, assistant medical officers, trained nurses and community nurses from the nearest public health clinic.

Health services provided include treatment of mild disease, early emergency treatment, pregnancy health examination, infant health and children, including immunisation services based on the national immunisation schedule. Cases that require intensive care and emergency cases such as maternity care would be referred to the nearest MOH hospital.

The Health director-general also noted that all of these health services would be free of charge to the detainees.

Malaysia today reported 50 new Covid-19 cases, which brings the country’s total Covid-19 cases to 7,059. Three cases today were imported, which means that 47 were local transmissions, including 41 foreign nationals.

Thirty-four of those foreigners were detainees at the immigration detention centre at Bukit Jalil. No death was reported today, and the country’s Covid-19 death toll remains at 114.

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