Covid-19: National athletes test positive

KUALA LUMPUR – Seven national athletes including five para athletes were confirmed to be COVID-19 positive after undergoing swab tests before the start of their quarantine-based approach training today.

The National Sports Council (MSN), in a statement, said those infected were two from athletics, two wheelchair tennis players, two wheelchair basketball players, one hearing-impaired tenpin bowling athlete and one boccia official.

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MSN director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the individuals detected positive had been isolated pending further action by the Health Ministry (MOH).

“MSN has also segregated athletes who might have come into close contact with the infected athletes and official and swab tests will be conducted on the fourth day. Those whose results are negative but symptomatic would have to undergo quarantine for up to 10 days. Tests will be conducted on the ninth day to confirm they are free from infection,” he added.

A total of 466 of the 735 athletes under the Podium Programme and national back-up athletes and officials have undergone swab tests at their respective training centres, coordinated by MSN and the National Sports Institute (NSI).

The swab tests were done at Kompleks MSN Taman Keramat involving 38 of 41 athletes and coaches, apart from Kompleks Kecemerlangan Paralimpik Kampung Pandan involving 89 of 91 para athletes and coaches.

Yesterday, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann was found positive during swab tests done on 39 players and coaches at the Academy Badminton Malaysia prior to their departure for the BWF Asian Tour in Thailand.

Must remain at respective centres

Overall, only one per cent or eight of 632 athletes and officials who had undergone the swab tests had been found positive. They are believed to have contracted the virus while on leave in their hometowns or homes.

The statement said after discussions with Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, the MSN centralised training camp would continue on a quarantine-based approach for the first two weeks, with athletes and officials barred from leaving except to their training places.

“This directive will be reviewed after two weeks based on developments on the spread of COVID-19 infection. Centralised training facilities can be used only by athletes and coaches. Movements in and out of the accommodation and training premises are not allowed except for athletes and coaches.

“Sanitisation will be carried out at every training and accommodation centre on a weekly basis. This will be implemented immediately. This step is taken in accordance with the set standard operating procedure (SOP) and MSN’s commitment in ensuring that national athletes are in their best health and condition to undergo training,” said Ahmad Shapawi.

He said this would be enforced at all training centres – Kompleks MSN Bukit Jalil, Kompleks Kecemerlangan Paralimpik Kampung Pandan, Kompleks MSN Taman Keramat, Kompleks Pelayaran Langkawi, Academy Badminton Malaysia, Nilai National Velodrome and Mokhtar Dahari Football Academy.

Meanwhile, athletes who did not report for training today will do so tomorrow at their respective training centres.

More quarantine centres

The Kelantan government meanwhile plans to open more field hospitals or better known as COVID-19 Quarantine and Low-risk Treatment Centres (PKRC) following the increase in the number of cases in the state.

State Local Government, Housing and Health Committee chairman Dr Izani Husin said so far, the number of COVID-19 patients placed in three hospitals, namely Raja Perempuan Zainab 2 Hospital, Kuala Krai Hospital and Tumpat Hospital has reached 90 per cent.

“We are concerned about the increase in the number of infections (while) the capacity at the hospitals are insufficient. We are also in the midst of identifying several areas such as Ketereh and Panji to place COVID-19 positive patients,” he told reporters after inspecting the PKRC at Dewan Jubli Perak MPKB (Kota Bharu Municipal Council) here today.

Meanwhile, Dr Izani said PKRC preparations at the Dewan Jubli Perak are almost complete and can accommodate about 120 beds which would be supervised by Dr Mohd Azman Yaakob.

He said prior to this, there were 32 COVID-19 positive patients placed at the Nursing College here and all of them would be transferred to Dewan Jubli Perak.

“All those placed at the PKRC are aged 45 and below, with no other underlying health conditions while all confirmed positive patients without any symptoms, will be quarantine for 10 days after their first swab test,” he added.

Total number cases now exceed 120k

Malaysia reported 1,741 new COVID-19 cases today, taking the total number of infections in the country to 120,818 cases.

Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of the overall tally, 22,089 are active cases.

Selangor remained the state with the highest daily tally, reporting 687 new cases (39.5 per cent), followed by Sabah with 303 cases (17.4 per cent) and Johor with 295 new infections (16.9 per cent).

“Also, eight were imported cases who got infected abroad, and the remaining 1,733 cases were local transmissions.

“A total of 541 cases (78.7 per cent) were from clusters and close contact screening in the field while 32 cases (1.8 per cent) were linked to clusters in lockups, immigration depots, and prisons,” he told a media conference on COVID-19 developments today.

Seven fatalities were also reported today, Dr Noor Hisham said, involving three men and four women, all of them Malaysians aged between 45 and 83.

Also, there are 122 cases being treated in the intensive care unit, with 53 of them intubated, he added.

As for recovered cases, Dr Noor Hisham said 1,010 recoveries were recorded today, bringing the country’s recovery tally to 98,228 cases so far.