Lack Of Physical Distancing In Family Gathering Contributed To Tawar Cluster: MOH

Seven new Covid-19 cases were reported today, including three from the Sala and Tawar clusters.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 18 — Health authorities attributed the spread of coronavirus in the Tawar and Sala clusters mainly to standard operating procedure (SOP) violations and hospital visits respectively.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that although the source of infection in both clusters is still being investigated, results from current investigations showed that the spread of the coronavirus in the Tawar cluster in Kedah and Penang — which has ratcheted up 47 Covid-19 cases — was contributed by violations of SOP during a family gathering.

MOH specified that, for example, capacity for that family gathering did not follow safe space constraints and that safe physical distancing was not maintained.

For the Sala cluster in Kedah with eight Covid-19 cases to date, the index case had a history of visiting a patient at a hospital with some of his family members.

MOH said that although no positive Covid-19 cases were detected from screening at the hospital, all the family members that had gone with the index case to visit the patient were found to be Covid-19 positive. The virus then spread to the index case’s close contacts and family members.

“We are concerned that the practice of hospital visits may contribute to the spread of infection, as there are many patients in hospital and this may raise the risk of infection,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.

“If there is a need to visit patients in hospital, please take precautions at all times,” he added, citing the wearing of face masks throughout a visit, maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre from patients or individuals with symptoms, and washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser.

He added that there was a large possibility that the spread of Covid-19 in both the Tawar and Sala clusters could be curbed if people avoided crowded places and congested places, and talking in close proximity.

MOH reported seven new Covid-19 cases today, including three locally transmitted, bringing the total number of cases to 9,129.

The three locally transmitted cases were reported from the Sala cluster (two cases) and Tawar cluster (one case), all involving Malaysians.

As of 12pm today, the Sala cluster has recorded a total of eight positive Covid-19 cases. A total of 635 individuals have been screened across Penang and Kedah and eight individuals tested positive (all in Kedah), 483 tested negative, while 144 individuals are still waiting for their results.

The Tawar cluster has recorded a total of 47 positive Covid-19 cases. A total of 1,490 individuals have been screened across three states — Kedah, Penang, and Perak — out of which 47 tested positive, 1,083 negative, while 360 individuals are still waiting for their results. The nine individuals from Perak who were screened tested negative.

MOH also reported four new imported cases today involving two Malaysians and two foreigners.

The imported cases were from Bangladesh (three cases in Kuala Lumpur) and the United Kingdom (one case in Kuala Lumpur).

There are currently 192 active cases, including eight in the intensive care unit (ICU) and two patients on ventilator support.

A total of 26 cases were discharged from the hospital today, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 8,902. The death toll remains at 125 as no new casualties were recorded today.

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