Country must address cramped living condition of foreign workers

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 27 May 2020

PUTRAJAYA: The cramped living condition of foreign workers in Malaysia needs to be addressed as they are a hotbed for infectious disease, says Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic).

The Health director-general said the Covid-19 pandemic had taught Malaysia many lessons, including the country’s management of migrant workers.

“We would like to learn from this experience. Certainly, we need to look into the accommodation of our foreign workers.

“If you live in a confined place, definitely infectious diseases will continue to spread. Not only Covid-19 but other diseases like TB.

“We have to look into the short and long term, and we need to solve this problem of the confined living space of our foreign workers.

“Today, we have to change the norm.

"How we do things must be different from the past in order to have a better future?” he said at the ministry’s daily Covid-19 press conference here on Wednesday (May 27).

On the recent discovery of Covid-19 cases at three immigration depots involving detainees, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry had yet to identify the source of infection at the centres.

“We have a few theories but unfortunately we have not been able to pinpoint the source of infection. Nonetheless, we have managed to isolate all those who are positive and also quarantined their close contacts,” he said.

As of Wednesday, there is only one case involving immigration detainees, which was detected at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Depot.

Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 4,752 detainees and staff at the three detention centres had been tested for Covid-19.

The ministry has detected 282 positive cases at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Depot, 66 at the Semenyih depot and 36 at the Sepang depot. Only one involved a staff member (Semenyih).

A total of 4,355 have tested negative, with only 13 are still awaiting results.

So far, 30,671 non-Malaysians have been screened for Covid-19, and out of the total, 1,853 or 6% have tested positive.

There are 753 non-Malaysians currently being treated at the country’s health facilities, with one of them under intensive care.

Four out of the total 115 Covid-19 deaths in the country are non-Malaysians.

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