Covid-19: Only 718 active cases identified among students, staff of tahfiz centres to date, says Dr Noor Hisham

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at the Covid-19 daily media conference in Putrajaya June 14, 2020. — Bernama pic
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at the Covid-19 daily media conference in Putrajaya June 14, 2020. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, June 14 — Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said only 718 active cases of Covid-19 infection among tahfiz students and staff have been identified to date.

He said only 4.1 per cent, of Covid-19 screening and tests, involving 17,477 samples from 429 tahfiz centres nationwide had been found to be positive cases.

He reiterated society should not have a negative perspective on the spread of the Covid-19 among tahfiz students, he said religious school or tahfiz students were one of the target groups identified by the Health Ministry.

“So far, we have identified 4.1 per cent positive infection rate. We don’t want to stigmatise them, but we want to make sure they don’t have the virus. This is because 120 tahfiz schools have been visited by participants linked to the Sri Petaling Tabligh cluster,” he said at the Covid-19 daily media conference today.

The Sri Petaling cluster comprising a tabligh congregation which triggered the second wave of Covid-19 in the country is the largest cluster since it has infected five generations. 

In a related development, Dr Noor Hisham denied the information going viral on Facebook of a child from Kampung Huma, Alor Setar, Kedah, who was claimed to have tested positive for Covid-19 after being infected by a relative who returned to the village from Negri Sembilan.

The Health director-general denied the claim: “What was uploaded on Facebook is not true. We did not receive the report.”

The Kedah Health  Department today through its official Facebook page also issued a statement denying the information.

Meanwhile, when asked about food safety, Dr Noor Hisham said there has been no report that Covid-19 could be spread through food intake.

“So far, there is no issue with fish because when we cook food, we are not worried about the virus because when we cook the heat itself will kill the virus. 

“I think we have no reports regarding the transmission via food intake, but more important is that we have to take all the precautionary measures and maintain good personal hygiene,” he said.

Touching on the ban on smoking, Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry was constantly monitoring  public compliance with smoking restrictions on food premises.

“But what the Ministry needs is the cooperation of Malaysians and shop owners to make sure that visitors do not smoke in restaurants and so on,” he said.

Earlier, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali was reported to have said that public  views that the smoking ban on food premises was no longer being implemented was not right, on the contrary it is just that enforcement had been reduced as the focus was now on efforts to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Noor Hisham also advised community leaders to use the latest information from the Health Ministry to educate local people on Covid-19 prevention measures and to monitor and ensure that the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) are being followed.

“What is even more important is to practice frequent hand washing, wearing face masks in public areas and maintaining good personal hygiene. It is easy for the Ministry to recommend but in practice it may be difficult,” he said. — Bernama



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