KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today confirmed that a Pakistani barber working in Kuala Lumpur has contracted Covid-19, with 40 close contacts identified so far.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said although the hair salon the Pakistani man was employed at was closed since the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18, the foreign worker had provided hair-cutting services at house calls made on clients’ requests in the surrounding area.
A total of 25 close contacts were identified from his phone call records, comprising four housemates and 21 clients.
Another 15 people received haircuts from him when his hair salon reopened on June 10, totalling 40 close contacts, after which his employer took him for Covid-19 screening, where he tested positive. A private hospital notified the Titiwangsa district health office yesterday about the positive test result.
The 40 close contacts have been screened for Covid-19 and ordered to home-quarantine.
“The Pakistani man was admitted to Sungai Buloh Hospital on 11 June. The source of the infection has yet to be identified. Investigations are ongoing,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference, without identifying the patient’s age.
The Health DG also reaffirmed Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s earlier statement about mandating Covid-19 testing for foreign barbers.
“MOH is concerned about positive cases among foreigners, not only among barbers, but in other sectors too,” he said.
He pointed out that new Covid-19 cases among Malaysians have been dropping to single-digits of late, “but those that involve foreigners, we must observe carefully”.
According to him, more than 2,000 foreigners are working as barbers.
“If we look at it symptom-wise, even if the barber has no symptoms, we’ll still isolate them in hospital and screen their close contacts, or do active case detection among their friends, housemates, close contacts, and their clients who received haircuts from them.
“They must follow our SOP (standard operating procedures). One of our SOP for foreign workers is they must be tested for Covid-19”.
MOH today reported 33 new Covid-19 cases, comprising 16 imported cases and 17 local transmissions. Locally transmitted cases involved 14 foreigners and three Malaysians.