KUALA LUMPUR, August 14 — Malaysia has tested 72,736 foreigners for Covid-19 as of August 6, out of which 2,683 people, or 3.7 per cent, tested positive, according to Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.
There were about 2.3 million registered foreign workers as of May this year, plus at least an estimated two million undocumented migrant workers. The foreign workers targeted for screening by health authorities are construction workers labouring in red zones.
The 2,683 Covid-19 cases among foreigners means that foreign nationals comprised about 30 per cent of the total 9,038 confirmed coronavirus cases in Malaysia as of August 6.
Singapore, which has been dealing with coronavirus outbreaks among migrant workers, said Tuesday that it has tested all foreign workers living in dormitories, numbering at an estimated 300,000 people. Coronavirus cases in dormitories reportedly comprised about 94.7 per cent of Singapore’s total 55,292 cases.
Dr Adham told the Dewan Rakyat that as of August 6, Malaysia has run 1,867,673 coronavirus tests — comprising 1,742,302 RT-PCR tests and 125,371 antigen rapid tests — on 1,012,660 individuals. Some individuals are tested more than once.
Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng asked the health minister to state the cost and the number of Covid-19 tests conducted by the government until June, as well as the number of tests done on foreigners and actions taken following positive cases.
“The Ministry of Health (MOH) has spent RM96 million on reagents and test kits for the Covid-19 screening test. MOH started carrying out screening for Covid-19 since January 2020, which is when the virus was first identified and when Covid-19 test was available in Malaysia,” Dr Adham said in a written Parliament reply dated August 13 to Lim.
Dr Adham also stated that 55 public and private facilities can conduct Covid-19 testing that includes both the RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests.
The health minister highlighted that disease prevention and control activities, including on Covid-19, cover everyone equally, including migrant workers.
“Case and close contact detection, Covid-19 tests, issuance of home surveillance order or quarantine stations, case and close contact management, treatment protocol, disinfection, health related issues and advice, and funeral management for Covid-19 deaths are all important activities in curbing the spread of Covid-19 among the public,” Dr Adham said.