JOHOR Health Department detected 16 variant of concern (VOC) in the state involving the Delta variant as of Aug 19, which spread rapidly among industrial workers.
State health and environment committee chairman R. Vidya-nanthan said Tangkak recorded the highest Delta variant cases among all districts in Johor with 11 cases.
“This was followed by Segamat with two cases, and one case each in Muar, Batu Pahat and Pontian,” he said in reply to Abd Taib Abu Bakar (BN-Machap) who asked if the Delta variant had caused the spike in the state’s Covid-19 cases.
Vidyananthan, however, added that the number of VOC cases reported was low and that the situation remained under control.
He acknowledged that an increase in Johor’s cases usually happened when other states in the country also recorded a spike.
“Now the high number of cases being recorded during the third wave in Johor is closely linked to the spike in the Greater Klang Valley.
“The spread within the industrial sector in the state is closely linked to the movement of many industrial workers across state lines to red zones for their vaccination,” he said.
Industrial workers from other states who entered red zones had carried the Covid-19 virus back, he explained.
“They subsequently transmitted the virus to co-workers and housemates at workers’ dormitories.
“The spread of cluster cases involving the community in Johor is largely due to visiting during the festive season or funeral ceremonies,” he said, adding that social activities were ongoing even with the movement control order still in place.
“This reflects the attitude of the community who take the standard operating procedure (SOP) lightly and make it difficult to break the Covid-19 chain of infection,” he said, adding that there were 142 active clusters in the industrial sector to date.
Vidyananthan added that the Johor Health Department has taken several proactive measures, including meeting with factory operators to make sure they adhere to the SOP.
He said the Public-Private Partnership Industrial Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pikas) had even been expedited to reduce the risk of transmission.
“The respective district health offices must also ensure that workers’ family members are vaccinated as soon as possible,” he added.