KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Malaysia reported 11 Covid-19 deaths in immigration detention and six among foreign-born prisoners since the pandemic began, according to Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin.
The 11 deaths in detention are equivalent to 0.13 per cent of 8,777 total infections recorded between May 2020 and August 25 this year, although details on the vaccination and comorbidity status of the mortality cases were not included.
Meanwhile, the six Covid-19 deaths involving foreign prisoners consisted of two nationals from India, and one each from Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Thailand. This accounted for nearly two per cent of total infections reported among foreign prisoners. A total of 303 positive cases have been recorded out of 11,180 foreign prisoners in Malaysia as of August 27.
Hamzah said this in response to Kangar MP Noor Amin Ahmad’s parliamentary query last Wednesday on Covid-19 infections and deaths among immigration detainees and foreign prisoners in the country.
“As a measure to ensure good health levels among detainees, the Immigration Department has collaborated with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to place 14 assistant medical officers at Immigration Depots throughout the country to provide early treatment to detainees.
“Nearby health clinics have been identified and selected by the MOH to strengthen the health services at the Immigration Depot and serve as a referral centre for the appointed assistant medical officer and as a supplier of medical needs to the depots,” Hamzah said.
Additionally, both the Immigration and Prisons Departments have taken measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 at their respective facilities by restricting prisoners’ movement and disallowing meetings with their families during the Movement Control Order phase.
Other steps include providing immunisations to children detainees at the Immigration Depot based on the immunisation schedule to prevent infectious diseases, and the transfer of detainees and prisoners at overcrowded depots and prisons, respectively, to temporary facilities to ensure physical distancing.
The Immigration Department has also held engagement sessions with local and international civil societies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, SUKA Society and MyCare to improve health management among detainees.