Kuching Nears Red Status, Inter-Division Movement Discouraged

MOH reports three fresh clusters in KL, Selangor, and Pahang, and 21 new Covid-19 cases nationwide.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — Kuching is on the brink of hitting red zone status, with authorities reporting 38 new local transmissions in the Sarawak state capital in the past 14 days.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) classifies various districts according to red (41 cases and above), yellow (one to 40 cases), and green (zero cases).

“MOH definition is local transmission for last 14 days. We are close and at 38,” Sarawak Minister for Local Government and Housing Dr Sim Kui Hian told CodeBlue today.

According to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee’s (SDMC) statement today, of the 53 active cases in Kuching, 52 were reported within 14 days. The 52 cases presumably includes imported infections. So far, Sarawak has recorded 641 Covid-19 cases.

SDMC chairman Douglas Uggah Embas told Borneo Post yesterday evening that Kuching was not yet declared a red zone because the city had 36 locally transmitted cases within the past fortnight.

But SDMC reported today six new Covid-19 cases in Kuching and three in Samarahan, totalling nine new Covid-19 cases in Sarawak. These include one imported infection from Perth, Australia, who returned to Kuching on July 20 from Kuala Lumpur and tested positive with the RT-PCR test on July 23 after she was swabbed on July 21.

Dr Sim explained that out of eight new locally transmitted cases in Sarawak today, four were classified under the Kuching district, whereas another four cases (from the Sentosa cluster) were registered in Samarahan based on their residential address. Two Covid-19 cases from Kuching yesterday completed their 14 days from the day they were reported.

(MOH’s latest discharge guidelines is 14 days from the positive test result for asymptomatic patients, and for symptomatic patients, at least three days’ recovery from fever [without using fever medicine] and respiratory symptoms, plus 14 days since symptom onset).

“Therefore, 36 – 2 + 4 = 38 cases in Kuching today,” Dr Sim told CodeBlue.

Since Covid-19 cases in Kuching and Samarahan divisions have been increasing, movement between the divisions are not encouraged, said SDMC.

Movement between the Kuching and Samarahan divisions are only encouraged for the following cases:

  • Performing official duties
  • Essential services workers
  • Death of immediate family member
  • Severe sick family members
  • Health check-up requirements

Three Fresh Clusters, 21 New Covid-19 Cases Nationwide

The federal Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 21 new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia today, with nine cases in Sarawak.

Of the newly reported cases, 16 were local transmissions and five were imported cases. That brings the total number of active cases in the country to 161.

Thirteen Malaysians and three foreigners were infected by Covid-19 under the local transmission category.

Sarawak reported eight locally transmitted Covid-19 cases today; all of the cases belong to the Sentosa cluster. Besides that, Johor reported a case from the Kluang aged care home cluster. All of these cases involved Malaysians.

Malaysia identified three more new clusters today in West Malaysia — Pahang, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Four new Covid-19 cases involving Malaysians and two cases involving foreigners were reported today from these three new clusters.

The details of the new clusters are as below:

Elsa Cluster

The first case identified in this cluster (Patient 8,839) was a foreign national, crew of a ship. The patient had a history of traveling by plane from the Philippines and transit in South Korea.

He or she entered Malaysia on 16 July to commence work. The patient was tested negative in a Covid-19 screening that was done in the Philippines on 14 July.

He or she then boarded the plane to Kuantan and spent the night at a hotel there, before being taken to ship to undergo quarantine on board after getting an approval from the marine department.

Five days later, on 20 July, the person started to develop symptoms of Covid-19. The person was tested positive with the coronavirus on 22 July and admitted to Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital in Pahang.

Following that, a total of 108 close contacts have undergone screening and three were detected with Covid-19, involving two foreigners and one Malaysian.

A total of 48 people tested negative while 57 are still waiting for their test results.

Ramnad People Under Investigation (PUI) Cluster

The index case of this cluster was a Malaysian citizen (Patient 8,817) who returned to Malaysia from India on July 6.

The person initially tested negative for the virus at Kuala Lumpur International Airport during Covid-19 screening.

The person also quarantined himself or herself at home and began to experience mild symptoms on July 19. The person was found to be positive on the 13th day screening.

Following that, a total of 18 close contacts, consisting of family members and co-passengers, were screened and two family members tested positive for Covid-19.

Thirteen tested negative and three people are still waiting for the test results.

Al Khobar Person Under Investigation (PUI) Cluster

The index case of this cluster is a Malaysian citizen (Patient 8,803) who returned to Malaysia from Saudi Arabia on 10 July 2020.

The person initially tested negative for the virus at Kuala Lumpur International Airport during Covid-19 screening.

The person also quarantined himself or herself at home with five family members at the premise. All of them returned from Saudi Arabia in the same plane as well, and two more other family members were at their home too.

The person began to experience mild symptoms on July 18 and tested positive on July 20. Following that, seven family members of the patient were screened, where one was detected with the coronavirus and six tested negative.

Further investigation and screening of the close contacts is ongoing including co-passengers of the index patient in the same aircraft

All the three clusters were domestic transmissions that stemmed from imported cases.

Today, five imported cases were discovered among returnees from Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Pakistan and Qatar.

Five patients are still receiving treatment in hospital and two among them are under ventilator support. Three patients were discharged today, bringing the total number of Covid-19 recoveries in the country to 8,577.

No new deaths were recorded today. Thus, the death toll in the country caused by Covid-19 remains at 123. The total number of Covid-19 infections in the country has hit 8,861.

Update at 10pm: Dr Sim Kui Hian explained how SDMC arrived at 38 locally transmitted cases in Kuching reported within the past 14 days as of today.

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