Truckers told to undergo virus test

Clean-up job: Workers sanitising shops and the surrounding areas near a restaurant connected to the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah.

ALOR SETAR: Truckers who patronised the restaurant in Kubang Pasu affected by the Covid-19 outbreak have been urged to be tested.

It was important for those who visited the place to undergo screening to help prevent an outbreak of the virus, said state health committee chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Hayati Othman.

“Even the Health Ministry has issued a statement to the public who might have close contact with the new cluster to come forward for swab tests, ” he said.

Dr Hayati said there was no way for the authorities to trace truckers who had visited the nasi kandar restaurant prior to the outbreak of the Sivagangga cluster as the owner of the restaurant did not follow the standard operating procedure (SOP), such as registering patrons at the eatery.

“What the government can do now is to gather as much information relating to the new cluster and advise people to come forward to undergo Covid-19 screening.

“As of Tuesday, a total of 770 people have been screened in Ah, Hosba and Binjal in Kubang Pasu, as well as in Kampung Ulu and Padang Sanai in Padang Terap, ” he said.

Dr Hayati also advised those who have been tested positive to stay put at home as instructed and not to roam freely outside.

A Malay daily reported that residents claimed the eatery was a frequent stopover for truckers and motorists who ply the routes along the North-South Expressway.

The daily also reported that the eatery did not have the MySejahtera application for its patrons and did not have registration books to record customers’ details.

On Sunday, 11 new Covid-19 cases were linked to the patient under investigation (PUI) Sivagangga cluster in Kedah.

Among them were two schoolchildren aged seven and 10.

The cluster was first reported on July 28 and was started by an index patient – a restaurant owner who returned from India – who did not follow home quarantine rules.

So far, 21 cases have been detected from that cluster.

Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said the state government would be distributing food supply to affected residents in the targeted enhanced movement control order (MCO) area.

He said the state was currently working with the Health Ministry and Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to find out details on how many families were in the affected areas.

“As of now, we have about 2,000 families in the areas, but efforts are being made through local leaders to finalise the exact number of families in those areas, ” he said during a press conference at Wisma Darul Aman here yesterday.

Sanusi, who is also Jeneri assemblyman, said the state government had also received 150,000 face masks that were donated by private companies.

“The face masks will be distributed to residents in the affected areas.

“I urge the public, especially those in the four sub-districts under the targeted enhanced MCO to be patient and always heed the SOP as instructed by the government.

“Those who have been given pink wristbands must fulfil their home quarantine order before being cleared by the health authorities that they are free from Covid-19, ” he said.

Meanwhile, a factory in Kulim has taken measures at its plants after one of its employees was said to have contracted the coronavirus.

In its website, under Covid-19 update, it has listed its measures including screening all of its employees’ movement from the targeted enhanced MCO area since Monday.

The factory also conducted sanitisation exercise and activated code red at its Kulim plant, and disallowed any cross movement between its two plants in Penang and Kulim, while vendors were only allowed admittance on a need to basis.

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