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No foreign worker COVID-19 cluster for now, but screening ongoing: Malaysian health ministry

No foreign worker COVID-19 cluster for now, but screening ongoing: Malaysian health ministry

A resident looks at a Royal Malaysia Police drone flying near the two apartment buildings in Kuala Lumpur on April 8, 2020, after they were cordoned off due to a number of cases of individuals with COVID-19 novel coronavirus at the premises. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

PUTRAJAYA: While Malaysia has not detected any COVID-19 cluster among the foreign workers, there have been continuous efforts to screen them for the coronavirus.

Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a daily press conference on Thursday (Apr 16) that the ministry would focus on high-risk areas with a huge population of foreign workers.

“The screening is ongoing with our PKD (district health offices). So far we have not seen a cluster formation. It is a continuous process,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry realised that some of the foreign workers have not been coming forward to be screened. Therefore, the ministry is working with several non-governmental organisations (NGO) to reach out to them.

Mercy Malaysia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees were among the NGOs involved, he added. 

In a wholesale market in Selayang, Selangor, a total of 465 foreign workers have been screened, the director-general revealed. 

Out of the total, 13 people, or 3 per cent, tested positive, he said. 

He said the government will continue to enhance efforts to screen, track, test, isolate and treat them.

At the same time, the ministry would also work with the Social Welfare Department to screen residents of old folks' homes, especially those crowded ones. 

READ: More students from religious schools expected to test positive for COVID-19, says Malaysian health ministry

As of Thursday, Malaysia reported a total of 5,182 COVID-19 cases, the third-highest among the Southeast Asian nations. Fatality rate was 1.6 per cent, while recovery rate was 53.4 per cent. 

Dr Noor Hisham said more than 90,000 samples were tested so far, with positive cases accounted for 5.4 per cent of the total. 

The ministry has adopted a focused approach, he added, by zooming in on high-risk groups and specific locations. 

Areas with a spike of cases will be placed under enhanced movement control order and everyone in the area will be screened, he said. 

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Source: CNA/tx(aw)


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