All immigration detainees in Sarawak to undergo Covid-19 test again, says SDMC

In a statement yesterday, the committee said the decision was made in view of the high number of Covid-19 cases recorded among detained illegal immigrants in Sabah which led to the detection of the Benteng LD Cluster. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
In a statement yesterday, the committee said the decision was made in view of the high number of Covid-19 cases recorded among detained illegal immigrants in Sabah which led to the detection of the Benteng LD Cluster. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUCHING, Sept 11 — All detainees at immigration detention depots in the state must undergo another round of Covid-19 screening, said Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

In a statement yesterday, the committee said the decision was made in view of the high number of Covid-19 cases recorded among detained illegal immigrants in Sabah which led to the detection of the Benteng LD Cluster.

“The number of detainees to be screened again for Covid-19 is about 690 people.

“This is a proactive step taken by SDMC to detect if there is any Covid-19 infection among detainees in the immigration detention depots, although they had been screened prior to being sent there,” it said.

There are two immigration detention depots in Sarawak — in Semuja near Serian and in Bekenu, Miri.

The Benteng LD Cluster was first identified on September 1 involving two undocumented immigrants who were held at the Lahad Datu District Police Headquarters lockup.

The pair was detained on August 24 and later tested positive for Covid-19 on August 31.

As of September 9, the cluster has infected 128 people across Lahad Datu and Tawau.

Separately, SDMC also reported that a total 28,546 samples were taken for rt-PCR in the month of August, or equivalent to an average of 920 samples daily.

“From this test, a total 21 persons were detected to be positive for Covid-19.

During the same period, a total 16,245 visitors entering Sarawak were screened and 14 or 0.09 per cent were found positive for Covid-19.

“They included eight cases from Japan (under the Alam Cluster), three cases from Yemen, and one case each from Holland, Philippines and Pakistan.” SDMC said the Sarawak Health Department had screened 2,203 individuals who were referred by various enforcement agencies to government health facilities in the state, and that only one Covid-19 case was detected.

The committee also noted that as of September 9, a total 120,407 samples from 95,133 had been taken for Covid-19 screening using the rt-PCR test, resulting in the detection of 700 positive cases so far.

Compared to the total number of individuals screened throughout Malaysia, it said the ratio of samples per 1,000 people is 30.84 in Sarawak and 40.57 in Malaysia.

The ratio of accumulative positive cases on the other hand is 0.74 per cent in Sarawak compared to 0.72 per cent for the whole country.

On the 95,133 individuals who had been screened, SDMC said 30.2 per cent were visitors from outside Sarawak; 18.4 per cent were contacts of positive cases; 7.9 per cent were health workers; and the others were from various monitoring and surveillance activities.

These surveillance activities include screening of workers at construction sites; sign-on and sign-off workers on oil platforms; workers in the plantation sector; workers at ports and jetties; students at higher learning institutions; students and teachers at tahfiz and madrasah; teachers returning from outside Sarawak; travellers coming from overseas; as well as screening at selected markets, schools, kindergartens and childcare centres, and old-folks’ centres.

“Monitoring and screening will continually be held for patients showing symptoms at selected sentinel clinics (Influenza-Like Illness) or in hospitals (Severe Acute Respiratory Infection), screening before operating procedures, screening on overseas travellers, random screening on those using domestic flights, screening on detainees, and screening at immigration detention depots and prisons,” it said. — Borneo Post Online

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