Ismail Sabri: Screening only at Sungai Buloh Prison block where Covid-19-positive inmate housed

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya May 22, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya May 22, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — Public health authorities will only screen inmates and prison staff stationed at the block where a single Covid-19 case involving a foreigner was found, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.

“We (will) only screen the spot where there was an infection, not prisons nationwide,” the senior minister in charge of defence told a press briefing in Putrajaya.

“So it’ll just be Sungai Buloh. It’s not necessary to screen other prisons.”

The case of the Sungai Buloh Prison inmate represents the first Covid-19 infection to be detected in a local prison.

The discovery came amid repeated warnings by public health experts that the prison populations were among the most vulnerable to the disease, as inmates were kept close together in small confined spaces.

Malaysia is already seeing the number of new infections surge among its large migrant community.

For the past one week, over 300 documented and undocumented migrants were found to have the virus.

The majority of these cases were discovered in immigration detention depots, where hundreds of detainees were often squeezed together in small cells.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said yesterday 800 inmates and 700 employees at the prison would be screened for Covid-19.

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