KUALA LUMPUR: Ninety-eight crewmen of the Royal Malaysian Navy ship KD Mahawangsa have tested positive for COVID-19, Malaysia's Ministry of Defence confirmed on Tuesday (Jun 8).
Senior Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the crew took antigen rapid tests before boarding the ship, but were confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 after a few days on board.
None of the crew members have shown any symptoms so far, said Mr Ismail Sabri, adding that they had all been isolated and placed under quarantine.
Speaking at a press conference, he said they will be tested again after 10 days and will be allowed to disembark if the test results are negative.
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The senior minister was visiting a drive-through vaccination centre at the Sungai Besi military camp. Health Minister Adham Baba and Chief of Defence Force General Affendi Buang were also present.
Mr Ismail Sabri said the ministry had yet to ascertain how the crew of the ship were infected with the coronavirus.
"As we know, COVID-19 is in the community. These crewmen must have been infected with COVID-19 before they boarded the ship, probably when they were at home or while buying groceries at a supermarket," he said.
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The senior minister also said he was in discussions with the COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee on the possibility of allowing the Ministry of Defence to receive vaccine supplies directly from Pharmaniaga.
The Malaysian pharmaceutical group is responsible for bottling the Sinovac vaccine.
Mr Ismail Sabri said that by doing so, herd immunity for military personnel and civil servants under the ministry, as well as their families, could be achieved faster.
"Overall, we have 500,000 personnel including their families and we target 200,000 to be vaccinated per month to enable us to achieve herd immunity within three months," he added.