KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — The Health Ministry has today warned of an imminent rise in Covid-19 cases following continuous heavy downpours that inundated several states nationwide since last week after 181 positive cases were detected among flood victims earlier today.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the 181 positive individuals were detected during screening by health authorities at the various flood relief centres, with the majority of them involving asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients under Categories 1 and 2.

Khairy also revealed that a total of 206 individuals have been identified as close contacts.

“As of 11am today, following our screening at the various relief centres, we detected a total of 181 Covid-19 positive cases. 

“Those found positive have been isolated from the general populace after they were moved to hospitals or quarantine centres.

“So the ministry is expecting a possible rise in Covid-19 cases as patient transfers were conducted in a risky manner and certain public health measures such as face mask-wearing was therefore inapplicable,” he told a press conference at the Dewan Rakyat.

Expressing the ministry’s understanding of the current situation, Khairy said the priority was to rescue as many victims as possible, thus it was undeniable that certain measures were unable to be enforced properly due to the flooding.

He also provided the breakdown of the 181 cases, with the bulk of patients coming from Selangor at 117, followed by Pahang at 52, six in Kelantan, four in KL and one in Melaka and Negri Sembilan respectively.

Khairy also assured that ministry officials deployed to the field will continue screening victims and isolate any who were found positive while also providing medical supplies such as face masks and sanitisers. 

The central states across peninsular Malaysia have been hit by extremely heavy and persistent rain over the past few days that caused rivers to overflow their banks and flood several areas.

Torrential rain that caused flooding, has displaced over 32,000 people and closed roads in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak and Kuala Lumpur since last Friday.