KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Ten people have brought Covid-19 infections to other parts of Malaysia since September 20 after returning from Sabah, health authorities said, as cases continue surging in the East Malaysian state.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), two new Covid-19 cases reported today in Pahang and Selangor involved previous travel to Sabah.
The new Covid-19 case reported in Pahang after over three weeks of zero local cases since September 2 involved a returnee from Semporna, one of four red zones in Sabah.
According to a report by the Kuantan district health office, the Malaysian man who lives in Kuantan, Pahang, was in Semporna, Sabah from August 28 to September 18 for work purposes. He took a mini bus from Semporna to Tawau on September 18, before flying to Kuala Lumpur on the same day. From the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2), he took a bus to the TBS express bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur that night and subsequently an express bus to Kuantan at 3am on September 19. Kuala Lumpur is still officially green, reporting zero new local Covid-19 cases in the past fortnight.
On September 19, after arriving in Kuantan, the real estate agent visited his second child who was studying at a Malay girls’ boarding school in Bandar Baru Enstek, Seremban in Negri Sembilan. He also visited Aeon Nilai shopping centre before returning to Kuantan that day. All districts in Negri Sembilan, except for Port Dickson with five Covid-19 cases, have reported zero local cases in the past two weeks.
From September 21 to 23, he sent his two other children to school — a primary and secondary school in Kuantan. The Kuantan man was only tested on September 23 for Covid-19 when he brought a child of his, who was also tested, to Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan for a cough. Kuantan health authorities believe the man, who has three children, likely got infected in Semporna and have traced 31 close contacts so far.
MOH, however, has maintained Kuantan as a green zone. Kuala Lumpur is also still “green”, despite a handful of Covid-19 cases reported in the capital city, including one gym member — notified to health authorities on September 23 — who had visited the Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Suria KLCC outlets, because MOH’s 14-day moving chart excludes inter-district and inter-state cases, and those imported from overseas.
Another returnee from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, was also detected with Covid-19 upon symptomatic screening in Selangor.
In the past few days, most of the positive Covid-19 cases that were reported in other states had a history of travelling to Sabah. Yesterday, two positive cases were detected in Selangor among Malaysians who returned from Semporna, Sabah. On Wednesday, four unlinked cases were reported in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Kelantan, whereby all of them had a history of travelling to Sabah.
MOH has reported 111 positive Covid-19 cases today, including 97 from Sabah that is scheduled to have its state election tomorrow.
Among the 97 new coronavirus cases, 74 cases were from the Bangau-Bangau cluster in Semporna, 13 from the Benteng LD cluster that has now spread to Kinabatangan, and two cases from the Laut cluster that originated in Kunak. The Benteng LD cluster has now reported 743 Covid-19 cases, comprising 576 in Tawau, 164 in Lahad Datu, two in Kinabatangan, and one in Sandakan.
Eight local sporadic cases, whose sources of transmission are unknown, were reported in Sabah, comprising two cases detected during a hospital referral screening, two cases from a workplace screening, two from a symptomatic screening, one case from a severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) screening, and one case detected at the international gates.
Earlier this week, Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told a press conference that those who return from Sabah to other parts of Malaysia do not have to undergo a mandatory quarantine.He said that those with Covid-19 symptoms will have to do a swab test upon arrival, while those without symptoms returning from areas in Sabah with a high number of coronavirus cases are encouraged to get tested.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today that individuals with symptoms travelling from red zones are now required to get tested for Covid-19 at the nearest health facility, while those without symptoms coming from the red zones are encouraged to get screened and to self-quarantine.
As of today, five districts in Malaysia have been classified red zones with more than 40 new local Covid-19 cases reported in the past two weeks: four in Sabah (Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kunak, and Semporna) and Kota Setar in Kedah.
MOH also reported a new imported cluster in Johor today, the Orkim cluster. The first case detected from this cluster was a Indonesian ship crew member who signed on in Singapore on September 10 and subsequently signed off on September 17. The individual had symptoms of cough, breathlessness, vomiting and diarrhoea from September 13 but only sought treatment on September 22. The individual was then detected with Covid-19 on September 23.
Upon close contact screening of the 30 ship crew members, two of them were detected Covid-19 positive, 24 tested negative, while four of them are still waiting for their results.
Eight community transmitted cases were reported in Kedah today — seven from the Sungai cluster and one case detected during a SARI screening at Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star.
The four imported cases reported today were returnees from Indonesia (two cases), India (one case), and Singapore (one case from Okrim cluster).
A total of 30 patients have recovered from Covid-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 9,696.
Currently, there are 858 active Covid-19 cases that include four patients that are being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU), out of which three of them are on ventilator support. The death toll remains at 133 cases as no new casualties were recorded today.
Update at 8.55pm: Additional information was added about the colour designation of Kuantan and Kuala Lumpur in the seventh paragraph.