Covid-19: New cluster in Kunak, Sabah, involves nine from same family

PETALING JAYA: A new Covid-19 cluster has emerged in Sabah, this time dubbed the Pulau cluster in Kunak, says the Health Ministry.

Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there are now a total of nine Covid-19 positive patients, all from the same family, in the cluster.

“The index case, patient number 9,940, is a Malaysian woman aged 68 years old.

“She was found unconscious at home and was taken to Hospital Kunak, then referred to Tawau Hospital to receive treatment for heart attack, stroke and liver disease, where a Covid-19 screening turned up positive on Sept 13.

“She is now being treated at the intensive care unit (ICU) and requires ventilator support, ” Dr Noor Hisham said in a press conference on Tuesday (Sept 15).

Following contact tracing and active case detection, eight others were found to be positive, and they were all family members of the index case.

“The reason behind the transmission is still being investigated and activities to curb the transmission for this cluster are being undertaken, ” he said.

Up until Tuesday, a total of 128 individuals had been screened in the cluster, involving 109 citizens and 19 non-Malaysians.

Out of this, nine were found to be positive and 18 were negative while the remaining 101 were still awaiting results.

Meanwhile, for the Benteng Lahad Datu cluster, Dr Noor Hisham said the four new cases reported on Tuesday brought the overall number of cases in the cluster to 424.

From the 424 patients, 186 were Malaysians while the remaining 238 were Filipinos and Indonesians.

A total of 6,610 individuals had been screened in the cluster in Lahad Datu and Tawau.

As for the targeted enhanced movement control order (MCO) zone in Kota Setar, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry estimated a total of 15,000 individuals would be screened from 10 high-risk districts.

The areas would be Pumpong, Alor Merah, Alor Malai, Derga, Kuala Kedah, Pengkalan Kundor, Kota Setar, Langgar, Titi Gajah and Mergong.

The targetted enhanced MCO, which is in effect from Sept 11 until Sept 25 following the emergence of the Sungai and Telaga clusters, has so far seen 12,885 Malaysians screened.

“We suspect the Sungai cluster has a big possibility of involving the D614G mutation, ” he said, adding that investigations were underway.

Previously, the D614G mutation of the Covid-19 virus was detected in the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah and the Ulu Tiram cluster in Johor.

The mutation is said to make the virus 10 times more infectious than the original strain.

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