Covid-19: Police hunt five Indonesian workers

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

KUCHING – Police are on the hunt for five Indonesian workers who ran away from their quarters in Jemukan Ulu, Asajaya, about 40km from here, after being screened for COVID-19 about 10 days ago.

Kota Samarahan District Police chief DSP Sudirman Kram today said the results of the COVID-19 test on two of them – Harianto Safari, 41, and Mihan Madi, 23, – came back positive.

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They were reported to have run away from the workers’ quarters with three others known as Randi, 30, Hamsar, 27, and Rija Riansyah Tan Rabudin, 29.

“Initial investigation found that they were hired to clean up a plantation area in Sadong Land District, Jemukan Ulu, Asajaya, and were screened for the coronavirus on Dec 21. However, on Dec 22, the five were reported to have run away from their quarters,” he said in a statement here today.

The Kota Samarahan Police are seeking cooperation from the public with information of their whereabouts to contact the hotline 082-662101 or Insp Mohd Syukri Jasni at 011-6564 3820, he added.

Roadblock set up

Labuan police meanwhile, have mounted a roadblock at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)-sanctioned settlement of Kiamsam, here, after the Labuan health authority declared the settlement as a COVID-19 red zone.

The 10-day roadblock which started yesterday (Tuesday) is to control the inflow and outflow of people and vehicles, and according to the National Security Council (NSC) Labuan, it was estimated that there were about 3,200 refugees and residents in the settlement.

Acting Labuan police chief, DSP Mohd Ibrahim Ghani said the roadblock was also to help the Labuan health personnel carry out COVID-19 active case detection and monitoring smoothly.

“The roadblock is not meant to stop people from going in and out of the settlement but rather to ensure those (refugees and residents) undergoing quarantine stay quarantined.

“We have been told by the health authority that there are individuals in the settlement issued with the quarantine order and asked to wear the pink wristband, therefore, there is a need to mount the roadblock,” he said.

Areas downtown like the shoplot buildings near Jalan Bunga Kemuning and Jalan Bunga Mayang were also declared as red zones as several COVID-19 patients were found to be tenants in the area.

Healthcare personnel are facing a major challenge in carrying out screening and contact tracing in these two UNHCR-sanctioned settlements.

Labuan Health Department director, Dr Ismuni Bohari said the occupants of the densely-populated Kg Muslim and Kiamsam water squatter settlements, home to Filipino refugees and other immigrants, locked themselves up in their house or fled when they saw the healthcare personnel.

“We are not welcomed. People there avoid us and flee … some probably flee by boat, some hide by holding on to the stilts under their house while others run into the woods. This is the situation impeding our efforts to trace unrecorded cases,” he said.

As of today, Labuan has recorded 1,638 cases of COVID-19 with nine deaths and five active clusters of J Bandar with 35 cases, Hujung Pasir (56), Sky Coklat (50), Saguking (413) and Titian at the UNHCR-sanctioned settlement of Kg Muslim with 81 cases.

Four digit number of cases

Malaysia continued its four-digit trend in daily COVID-19 cases after 1,870 new infections were reported today, with Johor recording the highest number of cases in the country with 607.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this brought the total number of infections in the country to 110,485 so far, of which 22,562 are active cases.

“The increase in Johor is due to the Tembok Choh prison-related cluster which reported 374 cases, followed by Selangor with 472 cases and Sabah with 280 cases,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Noor Hisham said the pandemic also claimed six more lives overnight, with the country’s death toll now at 463 cases.

There were, however, 745 recovered cases reported, which brings the number of total number of recoveries to 87,460 cases, he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said to date, 131 cases are being treated at the intensive care unit, with 62 of them intubated.

He said Kuala Lumpur today reported 219 cases, Penang (69), Kelantan (56), Perak (56), Perak and Pahang 48 respectively, Negeri Sembilan (34), Kedah (23), Melaka (8), Labuan and Terengganu two cases each and Putrajaya one case.

He said the deaths involved four men and two women, all aged between 45 and 69, adding that four of the fatalities were in Sabah and one each in Johor and Selangor.