PUTRAJAYA: The Benteng LD (Lahad Datu) cluster in Sabah continues to record an increase in infections with 40 out of 45 new cases linked to it.
This brings the total cases to 160 – currently Malaysia’s biggest and most active Covid-19 cluster.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the new cases under this cluster involved 34 detainees and six family members of Tawau prison staff.
“A total of 33 of them are non-Malaysians. We have conducted screening on 1,909 people at the Tawau prison and 770 people at the Lahad Datu police headquarters.
“Out of the total, 83 positive cases were detected in Tawau and another 87 cases in Lahad Datu,” he told a press conference yesterday.
The Benteng LD cluster was first detected on Sept 1 after two illegal immigrants from the Philippines were caught by the authorities under Op Benteng.
Dr Noor Hisham said the spread of the disease among detainees could have been prevented if new inmates had been isolated.
“Even if the test results were negative, new detainees should not be placed together with existing inmates for up to 14 days because of the Covid-19 incubation period.
“This should not just apply at lock-ups or prisons but also Immigration detention depots,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said the other five new Covid-19 cases comprised four local transmissions in Kedah and one imported case.
He said two of the cases were linked to the Telaga cluster while one was linked to the Sungai cluster.
Both clusters originated from public and private healthcare workers in the state.
Another case was detected from the Simpang Kuala clinic following screening of those with symptoms.
The sole imported case involved a Malaysian returning from Brazil.
There was no death reported yesterday while 24 patients were discharged, bringing the total of those who have recovered from the disease to 9,167 or 95.2%.
The country’s total number of cases stands at 9,628. Currently, nine people are being treated at the intensive care unit with five of them needing ventilator support.
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