PUTRAJAYA: Eleven COVID-19 cases were detected on Thursday (Jul 29) at a special sitting of Malaysia's Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of parliament.
Ten of these cases were detected using antigen saliva test kits, health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement on Friday.
The remaining case was detected through a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
Dr Noor Hisham said the health ministry had been informed of two positive COVID-19 cases in parliament on Thursday, with the first case involving a staff member who was present from Jul 26 to 28.
That staff member underwent the PCR confirmation test on his own at a health facility after experiencing symptoms of cough and flu.
The second case was detected using a self-test kit in parliament on Thursday morning after the individual concerned experienced cough.
READ: As Malaysia grapples with record COVID-19 cases, authorities ramp up mass vaccination to stem the tide
"Investigations found that these two cases are not connected with any positive case detected during screening of parliament personnel which was conducted three days before the special sitting of parliament began,” he said, adding that these two were also negative for COVID-19 when tested before performing their parliament duties.
Based on risk assessment and taking into account the movement history of the two cases, Dr Noor Hisham said it was feared that they could have been present at several locations in parliament during the special meeting.
The five-day special sitting began on Jul 26 and will end on Aug 2.
Following the two positive cases, Dr Noor Hisham said 1,183 individuals underwent COVID-19 screening using the test kits in parliament on Thursday.
READ: Singapore got Pfizer earlier likely due to Temasek stake in BioNTech: Khairy in justifying Malaysia’s vaccine approach
He said two of the 10 positive cases detected using the test kits had mild symptoms but were stable while the other eight were asymptomatic.
Following the detection of these positive cases, health teams will undertake investigation, risk assessment, contact tracing, and prevention and control measures, including cleaning and disinfection at parliament building, he added.
Dr Noor Hisham also advised those who are attending the special sitting next week to go for COVID-19 tests first.
“Those with symptoms should go for examination and not turn up in parliament,” he said.