Three new Covid-19 clusters detected today

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has detected three more new COVID-19 clusters in Penang, Johor, Pahang and Selangor today, and two of them are workplace clusters.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the two new workplace clusters were the Rawa Akasia Cluster involving the districts of Timur Laut, Barat Daya, Seberang Perai Tengah and Seberang Perai Selatan in Penang as well as the Jalan Perindustrian Cluster in Kulai, Johor.

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“The index case for the Rawa Akasia Cluster, which is case number 100,149, was reported positive on Dec 24 through symptomatic individual screening with a total of 322 individuals screened, and 117 cases were COVID-19 positive.

“The index case for the Jalan Perindustrian Cluster (case number 106,412) was reported positive on Dec 28 through targeted screening at the workplace with a total of 95 individuals screened, and 20 cases were COVID-19 positive,” he said in a statement.

He said the third cluster was the Rantau Semarak Cluster involving Maran area in Pahang and the Gombak district in Selangor.

“The index case for this cluster, which is case number 106,636, was reported positive on Dec 28 through symptomatic individual screening with a total of 69 individuals screened, and 18 cases were detected positive,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham four clusters had ended, namely Bukit Dalam, Chengal, Penjara Reman and Avenue Clusters.

High number of cases

The daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia remained in four digits with 2,068 cases recorded today, bringing the total number of cases in the country to date to 115,078.

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 23,433 cases were still active.

He said only two of the new cases today were from abroad.

“Selangor reported the highest number of new daily cases at 776, with 425 being from clusters and screenings done on close contacts of COVID-19 patients, which is actively being conducted in the field. This is followed by Kuala Lumpur which recorded 457 cases, while Sabah recorded 254 cases.

“18 of the cases reported are related to clusters in lockups, immigration detention depots and prisons involving the Jalan Harapan Prison Cluster (13 cases), Tembok Gajah Cluster (4) and Pagar Siput Cluster (one),” he said in a statement today.

Tightened restrictions

All educational institutions in neighbouring Bangkok in Thailand meanwhile will be closed from Jan 4 to 17 while more public venues including entertainment outlets, sports venues and gambling outlets will be closed until further notice, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The spokesman for Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said the closure for the educational institutions, including universities, schools, tutorial centres, pre-schools and nurseries, ordered shut till Jan 4 before this, will now be extended until Jan 17.

He said entertainment outlets including bars, night clubs, tattoo parlours and massage parlours as well as recreational venues such as water parks, amusement parks, playgrounds and gambling venues remain closed until further notice.

“There are COVID-19 cases linked to students and other businesses. Therefore, BMA’s Communicable Diseases Committee has agreed to tighten restrictions to halt the spread of infections,” he said at a press conference here today.

However, Pongsakorn said departmental stores will remain open for now.

“BMA will hold a meeting to discuss further on whether to ban dining in at restaurants,” he said.

Over the last 24 hours, Thailand recorded 279 COVID-19 cases and two deaths bringing the total to 7,163 cases and 63 fatalities to date.

Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin said of the 279 new cases, a total of 273 local transmissions were reported while six new cases were detected at alternative state quarantine (ASQ).

He said a 44-year-old man visited an entertainment outlet in Bangkok and later developed COVID-19 symptoms and died at a hospital yesterday.

He said a 70-year-old man from Tak province who crossed the border from Myanmar illegally on Nov 29 had underlying health conditions died at a hospital at 10 pm (local time) yesterday.

Thaweesilp said the latest outbreak in Thailand has spread to 53 provinces including six provinces which are under highly-controlled areas, namely Samut Sakhon with 1,739 cases, Rayong (319), Chonburi (207), Bangkok (180), Nakhon Pathom (60) and Samut Prakan (57).