Virus found in Tawau prison

PUTRAJAYA: The Benteng Lahad Datu (LD) Covid-19 cluster in Sabah has spread its wings to Tawau prison some 150km away, with seven cases linked to the cluster.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said a convict at the prison who tested positive for the virus on Tuesday was found to have close links to cases from the Benteng LD cluster.

“He (Patient 9,351) has a history of being at the Lahad Datu police headquarters for a case mention.

“There, he had close contact with the two index cases (Patient 9,344 and Patient 9,345) of this cluster, ” he said in a statement, adding that Patient 9,351 is a 43-year-old Malaysian.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was able to trace six more cases at the prison, which were among the country’s 14 new cases that were reported yesterday.

“Four of these cases also had a travel history to the Lahad Datu police headquarters and all had close contacts with the index cases.

“They returned to the prison on Aug 28 and further infected two inmates.

“All of them were asymptomatic and have been admitted to the Tawau Hospital, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the six, aged between 17 and 49, comprised four men from the Philippines and two Malaysian men.

The Benteng LD cluster was announced on Tuesday where seven positive cases were detected following a screening on inmates at the Lahad Datu police headquarters.

Six undocumented migrants – four from the Philippines and two from Indonesia – as well as a Malaysian, were among the cases and all had been admitted to the Lahad Datu Hospital.

Currently, there are 14 cases related to the cluster.

Dr Noor Hisham added that so far, 336 individuals had been screened under the cluster.

This included 121 detainees, 83 prison staff members, 68 family members of detainees and staffs, 61 police officers and three government officers.

He said 123 individuals have tested negative while the results for another 199 were still pending.

Besides the Benteng LD cluster, three other clusters also reported new cases – Tawar (three cases), Bunga (two) and Telaga (one).

Two cases under the Tawar cluster were detected from the enhanced movement control order (MCO) that is currently being imposed in Amanjaya, Kedah.

The cluster now has 78 cases, spread in both Kedah and Penang.

The Bunga cluster currently has six cases of which two were found in Negri Sembilan and four in Selangor.

The cluster is linked to a ship’s crew in Port Dickson onboard a vessel that has travelled to a port in Singapore.

The country’s total cases since the outbreak began has climbed to 9,374 while active cases are now up to 163 cases.

There was no new death while four more patients had been discharged.

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