JOHOR BARU, July 29 — The Persiaran Agas cluster which started from a semiconductor manufacturing factory in Tanjung Agas, near Tangkak, has now recorded 13 deaths, and it is suspected that the cluster has cases with variants of concern (VOC).
State Health and Environment Committee chairman, R.Vidyananthan said almost all the deaths reported from this cluster, which was declared on July 9, had comorbidities or chronic diseases and were late in seeking treatment.
“Almost all the deaths were reported within an average of four days (ranging from one to nine days) between the onset of symptoms and being treated,” he said in a statement here today.
This was following a message that went viral on social media that there were 15 deaths involving the cluster and claiming that the factory was still operating to this day.
The first case involving a factory worker with symptoms was confirmed Covid-19 positive on July 2 but had continued working until June 28 despite showing symptoms on June 24.
As of yesterday, 462 positive cases were reported with 1,495 workers suspected to be close contacts, instructed to observe a 21-day home quarantine.
“Of the total number of cases, 207 involve factory workers comprising 155 locals and 52 foreign nationals while 255 cases are among family members and workers’ acquaintances,” said Vidyananthan.
According to him, the main cause of the outbreak was non-compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) among the workers and community.
He said the factory was closed for sanitisation on July 3 and ordered to shut down from July 14 to 20 after contact tracing and screening of workers were carried out.
However, the factory was allowed to operate again in stages from July 21 in accordance with the SOP set by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) based on a risk assessment done.
“Daily monitoring is still being carried out by the District Health Office on the factory’s operation to ensure the SOP is adhered to. It is understood that Miti is looking at the operation in ensuring safety at the workplace,” said Vidyananthan.
According to him, 2,643 factory workers have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine through the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (PIKAS).
“The Health Office is also working at ensuring vaccination for the workers’ family members,” he said, adding that the factory had 4,057 employees including 251 foreign nationals. — Bernama