PUTRAJAYA: A new cluster of Covid-19 patients has emerged in Pengerang, Johor, after a patient, who was initially suspected to have dengue, travelled across a few states visiting relatives, says Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The patient, who is Malaysia's 1,508th case, initially suffered from symptoms on March 12 and was treated at a private clinic on March 16.
He was suspected of suffering dengue fever at the time.
The following day, on March 17, the said patient travelled across several states, including Selangor, visiting relatives, before returning to Pengerang on March 18, the first day the movement control order (MCO) was enforced.
“The patient’s health condition deteriorated and was warded to Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johor, on March 20 in a critical condition.
“The patient subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 on March 22, ” said Dr Noor Hisham during his daily Covid-19 briefing at the Health Ministry in Putrajaya Wednesday (April 22).
According to Dr Noor Hisham, the new cluster involved 15 positive cases, consisting of 10 colleagues and five family members, including the patient’s 79-year-old mother and a ten-year-old daughter.
“Seven cases under this cluster are currently receiving treatment, while eight more cases have fully recovered and been discharged.
“In total, three cases in this cluster are being treated at the intensive care unit (ICU).”
The infection involving the patient’s family members was believed to be caused by visits made by the patient a day before the MCO was enforced, said Dr Noor Hisham.
Dr Noor Hisham said the Pengerang cluster and the Rembau sub-cluster should be made as an example of the importance of adhering to the MCO and avoiding visits.
“This includes travelling across states, districts, sub-districts, or attending large gatherings, including religious ceremonies and receptions.
“The Health Ministry is concerned that such activities, which are normal for Malaysians, would cause the spread of Covid-19 among family members, particularly senior citizens and children.”
He urged Muslims in the country to use the fasting month as a time to conduct their religious practices and activities in their respective houses.
“Aside from celebrating Ramadan with your family members at home, this will help us to care and protect our family members, particularly the old and young from being infected with Covid-19.
“The public are also advised to always practice social distancing of at least one meter from others and to maintain good personal hygiene, ” he said.