Covid-19 Clusters Explode In Detention Centres, Over 100 New Cases

MOH reported 172 new Covid-19 cases today, including 112 cases in the Sepang, Bukit Jalil, and Semenyih immigration detention centres, and 55 community transmissions.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — Health authorities today reported 112 new Covid-19 cases in three immigration detention depots, out of 172 total new cases today.

From the 172 new coronavirus cases, five were imported infections, while the remaining 167 local transmissions comprised 159 foreigners, including the 112 cases in the immigration detention centres in Sepang, Bukit Jalil, and Semenyih. This means that 55 cases were found in the community, comprising 47 foreigners and eight Malaysians.

The last time Malaysia confirmed over 100 new Covid-19 cases was on May 3 with 122 cases.

“The public doesn’t need to worry because these immigration depots are places isolated from the general community and under control by the authorities,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today, as he predicted more Covid-19 cases in immigration detention centres.

As of today, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 227 positive Covid-19 cases in the three immigration detention depots, all of which comprise foreign nationals: 53 Bangladeshis, 41 Indians, 38 Indonesians, 37 Myanmarese, 28 Pakistanis, 17 Chinese, four Cambodians, three Nepalese, two Sri Lankans, and one each from the Philippines, Libya, Egypt, and Syria.

At the Sepang immigration detention depot, 1,449 samples have been taken as of noon today, where 36 Covid-19 cases were detected (29 cases reported today), 540 tested negative, and 873 are awaiting test results.

For the Bukit Jalil immigration detention depot cluster, 1,536 samples have been taken from 1,422 detainees and 114 staff. A total of 126 tested positive, 514 tested negative, and 896 are awaiting test results.

At the Semenyih immigration detention depot, 1,757 samples have been taken from 1,630 detainees and 127 staff. A total of 66 people tested positive for Covid-19, 753 tested negative, and 938 test samples are awaiting results.

MOH will continue using a targeted approach towards the Covid-19 epidemic here by tracking close contacts, pursue active case screening, as well as isolating positive cases in hospital and quarantining close contacts.

Dr Noor Hisham tweeted last night that active case detection, and isolation and treatment of confirmed Covid-19 patients, must be enhanced in light of Covid-19 outbreaks in immigration detention centres.

“Covid-19 knows no boundaries & does not favour any ethnicity & social status.

“Our whole government & whole community should work together to fight the virus. Negative sentiments against detainees must not be amplified & must not be a catalyst for discrimination in saving lives,” he tweeted.

Human rights groups have previously criticised immigration authorities for arresting undocumented migrants in areas put under total lockdown, warning the government of potential Covid-19 outbreaks in overcrowded conditions.

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