Dr Noor Hisham: SOP non-compliance reason why Sala, Tawar Covid-19 clusters grew

Dr Noor Hisham said the spread of infection in the Tawar cluster was found to be contributed by gatherings among family members who did not fully comply with the SOP. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Dr Noor Hisham said the spread of infection in the Tawar cluster was found to be contributed by gatherings among family members who did not fully comply with the SOP. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 ― Covid-19 infections that were traced to two clusters in Kedah, Sala and Tawar, were able to spread because those who contracted the virus did not follow the regulations set by the Health Ministry, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

The Health director-general said the ministry is still investigating the infection source of patient zero, but pointed out that relatives of the people who first got infected mingled in close quarters with others in spaces that were too small to allow adequate physical distancing of the one-metre rule.

“The spread of infection in the Tawar cluster was found to be contributed by gatherings among family members who did not fully comply with the SOP.

“This helped the widespread transmission of these clusters, although the case of the index and the exact cause of the infection is still under investigation,” he said in a news conference in Putrajaya.

He said that in the case of the Sala cluster, its index case had record of visiting patients in hospital with others.

“Although there is no positive case of Covid-19 detected from the screening at the hospital, all family members who had gone with the index case to visit the patient were detected to be positive,” he said.

“It is feared that the practice of visiting the hospital may contribute to the spread of infection as in the hospital there are many patients and this invites the risk of infection,” he added.

Dr Noor Hisham said transmission could have been reduced if strict physical distancing were followed.

He said that the Tawar cluster currently has 47 cases after 1,490 people were tested from contact tracing.

The Sala cluster has eight cases from so far from a pool of 635 tested for Covid-19.

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