Health Ministry lambasted for keeping Covid-19 cases at Klang hospital under wraps

KLANG: More Covid-19 cases are surfacing in Klang, with the latest spate of infections said to have been detected at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah here, leading to severe criticism from its MP.

Reportedly, almost 100 people consisting of staff and hospitalised patients have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks.

When contacted for confirmation on Thursday (Dec 17), Selangor health director Datuk Dr Sha'ari Ngadiman said he would be issuing a statement on the matter later in the day.

The patients are said to have tested negative when they were admitted for treatment, and it is believed they contracted the virus at the hospital.

Klang MP Charles Santiago lambasted the Health Ministry for allowing the hospital to keep the matter under wraps for so long.

“It is the World Health Organisation’s recommendation that infections must be quickly relayed to the public so that they can take their own precautions.

“It is very irresponsible of the hospital to have kept the matter hidden," he said.

Santiago added that “red tape” was also a catalyst in keeping information suppressed and hidden from the public.

“If you ask the district Health Department, they will tell you that they cannot divulge any information without the ministry’s green light," he said.

He argued that such an approach would only worsen the situation with many unsuspecting people becoming open to infection.

“People living in Klang have already started to panic due to the high number of cases in the district.

“They should be kept informed so that they can takes their own measures to protect themselves and their families, ” said Santiago.

Klang recently became the hub of a high number of Covid-19 positive cases when employees of several factories in the district became infected.

A few months ago, more than 30 people working for a multinational company in Port Klang became infected with Covid-19.

The foreign workers were living in seven units of the Prima Bayu Apartments here.

Their asymptomatic housemates were placed under home quarantine and frightened neighbours hired security guards and placed them outside the workers units to ensure they remained indoors.

More recently, big scale latex medical glove maker Top Glove Corporation Bhd became the conduit for the nation’s biggest Covid-19 infection group: the Teratai Cluster, with more than 5,000 of its foreign workers infected.

One 29-year-old Top Glove worker, Yamnarayanan Chaudhary Tharu from Nepal, succumbed to the infection at Hospital Sungai Buloh last week.

The Selangor state government has conducted screening for residents living in four housing estates near the Top Glove factories in Meru.

According to the state’s Selcare group of clinics’ general manager Mahdzir Ibrahim, there was quite a number of positive cases among those who had come to be tested.

Meru assemblyman Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar said the infection could have occurred because local residents and Top Glove employees frequented the same restaurants, grocery stores neighbourhood amenities.

Lately, another Klang-based medical latex glove maker Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd issued a statement that 427 of its employees had tested positive for Covid-19.

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