KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — With 601 cases of Covid-19 among foreigners in the country, companies employing foreign workers must take the necessary precautions to prevent new clusters, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

The Health director-general said the 601 cases detected consisted of 108 Indonesians, 104 Filipinos, 63 Bangladeshis, 60 Indians and 51 Pakistanis.

“This group includes tourists, foreign workers, refugees and asylum seekers. Of this, there have been three deaths, while 356 are still being treated and 242 have recovered,” he said in his daily briefing today.

He said that Malaysia must take note of developments in Singapore, which experienced a spike in cases, of which more than 50 per cent were in migrant workers’ dormitories.

“Because Malaysia also hires a lot of foreign workers, we need to take action to prevent the virus from spreading among our foreign-worker community,” he said.

He said it was the responsibility of employers to ensure necessary action was taken to protect its workers by following the guidelines set by the authorities.

These include taking each employees temperature and monitoring for symptoms, increase disinfection exercises in common areas, social distancing for work and outside of work shifts and no congregations or confined spaces whether at work or in staff quarters among others.

Singapore saw its sharpest single-day spike of 728 new coronavirus cases yesterday, of which foreign workers living in dormitories made up 654, or almost 90 per cent.

The total number of foreign workers linked to dorms who have tested positive for Covid-19 is 2,689 — about 60 per cent of all Singapore’s cases.

The total number of cases in SIngapore is up to 4,427.

While the spread of the virus in the wider community has held steady over the past two weeks, the number of cases linked to foreign workers in dormitories has risen exponentially over the past two weeks.

Dr Noor Hisham also said that the ministry was working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure refugees and asylum seekers were included in the authorities’ effort to prevent and curb the infection which has so far caused 86 deaths in the country.

“We are also working closely with the relevant embassies and non-governmental organisations to help spread news and information about our efforts, in their native language.