Malaysia’s Daily Covid-19 Cases Surge To 100, Most From Benteng LD Cluster

Of the 85 local transmissions, 62 were from Benteng LD cluster in Sabah, while 23 were detected in the Sungai cluster in Kedah and Perlis.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Malaysia’s daily confirmed Covid-19 cases shot up to 100 today, mostly driven by the Lahad Datu police lock-up cluster that has now infected 128 people across Lahad Datu and Tawau.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), of the 85 local transmission cases detected today in the country, a total of 62 new cases were recorded in the Benteng LD cluster — comprising 32 Malaysians (51.61 per cent) and 30 foreign nationals (48.39 per cent). It is unknown if the Covid-19 patients are all prisoners.

The Benteng LD cluster was first identified on September 1 when two undocumented immigrants were held at the Lahad Datu district police headquarters lockup on August 24, who later tested positive for coronavirus on August 31. Yesterday, MOH reported that 66 cases in the cluster involved 64 prisoners and two among a prison officer and their niece or nephew.

A total of 2,010 people in this cluster have been screened so far in Lahad Datu and Tawau. Of them, 87 people in Lahad Datu and 41 in Tawau respectively tested positive for Covid-19, totalling 128 people.

A total of 557 individuals in those two districts in Sabah tested negative, while 325 people are still waiting for the test results.

“If we look at the Benteng cluster, it was an operation conducted by the Malaysian Army, police force, and other agencies. The ultimate motive of the operation is to curb the arrival of undocumented migrants,” said Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a press meet today.

“The identified two index cases were undocumented migrants and to ensure the success of the operation, we detained them in Lahad Datu police lockup and Tawau prison. When we screened them, we found they were positively infected.

“So far the situation in Lahad Datu police lockup and Tawau prison is under control and it does not occur among the community. For instance, we have had 277 cases in the Bukit Jalil immigration detention centre earlier. It wasn’t transmitted among the community members and was under control at that time,” he added.

The new Sungai cluster — which was identified yesterday — recorded a total of 23 new coronavirus cases: 22 cases in Kedah and one case in Perlis.

The index case of this cluster, who was a health care worker at a medical centre in Kedah, positively tested with the coronavirus on September 5. According to MOH, the individual was ill since August 30, but did not seek medical attention.

The Sungai cluster has now recorded 26 confirmed coronavirus cases, comprising 25 in Kedah and one in Perlis.

A total of 479 individuals in the Sungai cluster were screened in Kedah, Penang and Perlis. Among them, 25 individuals tested positive for the coronavirus in Kedah, including the newly reported 22 cases today.

A total of 31 people were tested negative, while 414 are still waiting for their test result in Kedah. In Penang, all of the five individuals who were screened are still waiting for the result.

In Perlis, one positive case was detected today, from the four people who were screened. Three individuals are still waiting for the test result.

It is to be noted that a health worker from Sungai cluster infected seven of his or her family members. Thus, the Health Ministry urged the public, including health care workers, to strictly comply with standard operating procedures (SOP) without taking things lightly.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, the 15 imported cases reported today consisted of returnees from India, Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan.

That brings the total number of Covid-19 infections in the country to 9,559, with 295 active cases.

A total of 12 patients were discharged today, bringing the total number of recoveries to 9,136. Seven patients have been admitted into the intensive care unit with four under ventilator support.

Since there is no new death recorded today, Covid-19 deaths in the country remain at 128.

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