Tawar Cluster Of Unknown Origin Hits 55 Cases

The Tawar cluster comprises 44 coronavirus cases in Kedah and 11 in Penang.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 19 — The Tawar cluster, whose source of infection is unknown, has ratcheted up 55 Covid-19 cases so far, making it one of the biggest clusters to hit Malaysia recently.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) identified eight new Covid-19 cases today from the Tawar cluster, consisting of four cases in Kedah and another four in Penang, with the cluster recording three generations of spread so far, meaning a person infecting another, who then infects someone else.

The Tawar cluster in Kedah and Penang — with 55 confirmed coronavirus cases and 357 pending test results — has exceeded the 45 Covid-19 cases in the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah, Perlis and Penang that was sparked by a restaurant owner who violated home quarantine rules.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said yesterday that the origin of the Tawar cluster from Baling, Kedah, was still under investigation, but investigators attributed the spread of coronavirus in the cluster mainly to the lack of safe physical distancing in a family gathering.

The Tawar cluster’s index case (Patient 9,113), a 53-year-old man, had attended the funeral of a family member that saw 30 people in attendance. However, it is not known how he got infected. (An index case does not necessarily mean that she or he infected everyone else in the cluster; simply that they were the first infected person to be identified).

MOH said today that a total of 1,560 people were screened under the Tawar cluster in Kedah, where 44 people positively tested for coronavirus. A total of 1,173 people tested negative, while 343 are still waiting for the test results.

In Penang, out of the 341 people who were screened, 11 turned out to be positive. A total of 316 people tested negative, and 14 people are still waiting for the test results.

In Perak, all of the nine individuals who underwent Covid-19 screening tested negative.

This shows that 2.88 per cent of the total number of people under the Tawar cluster who underwent screening have tested positive.

MOH also reported three new Covid-19 cases from the Sala cluster, also of unknown origin, in Kedah today, marking a total of 11 confirmed cases so far. Of the 668 people who were screened, 662 people were from Kedah and six from Penang.

In Kedah, 11 people tested positive while 494 were tested negative. A total of 157 people are still waiting for their test result. Penang did not record any positive cases from this cluster.

Today, an asymptomatic person in Johor was detected with Covid-19 during a screening before getting into a ship. That brings the total number of local transmissions in the country today to 12.

Of the 16 new Covid-19 cases in the country today, four new imported cases were detected among returnees from Bangladesh and the Philippines. This marks the total number of Covid-19 patients in the country at 9,235 with 185 active cases.

A total of 23 patients were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 8,925.

Seven patients are receiving treatment in the intensive care unit, with three of them on ventilator support.

Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll stays at 125 as no new deaths were recorded today.

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