Over 1,000 madrasah and tahfiz schools yet to step forward for Covid-19 screening, Health D-G discloses

A health worker in protective suit swabs a driver’s mouth at a drive-through testing site for Covid-19 at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital in Petaling Jaya March 28, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A health worker in protective suit swabs a driver’s mouth at a drive-through testing site for Covid-19 at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital in Petaling Jaya March 28, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Over 1,000 private tahfiz and madrasah schools nationwide have yet to come forward to undergo Covid-19 screenings by the Health Ministry.

Disclosing the staggering figure during his daily Covid-19 briefing here, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah then urged the operators of these institutions to contact their local district health office or the ministry to have their students screened.

“What we are worried about is that when the festive season arrives and these tahfiz students return to their hometowns, if they are asymptomatic, there is a huge possibility that they may infect the elderly or others who come into contact with them.

“So the ministry is advising those who are returning home with their families to adhere to strict social distancing measures, personal hygiene and avoid any large congregation,” he said during his daily Covid-19 briefing here.

Dr Noor Hisham also said the 120 out of 370 madrasahs and tahfiz schools identified nationwide are linked to the Sri Petaling tabligh cluster, whereby participants who attended the gathering have visited the aforementioned locations more than five times.

Earlier, he said of the 370 madrasah and tahfiz schools screened nationwide involving 19,209 individuals, 635 of them have tested positive for Covid-19 or 5.1 per cent.

Of the 635 who have tested positive, 539 (84.9 per cent) showed no symptoms, which could lead to a spread of the virus if preventive measures are not taken, he said.

Given the 85 per cent rate of asymptomatic cases, Dr Noor Hisham said the students carrying the virus could infect others, particularly the elderly who are in the high-risk group.

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