Don’t stir up hate, says health DG after 3rd cluster of migrant cases

Malaysia has carried out checks on migrants during operations against Covid-19.

PETALING JAYA: As a third cluster of Covid-19 cases at an immigration detention depot was reported today, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has reminded Malaysians not to raise feelings against migrants.

He said there should be no discrimination in saving lives, and called for immediate action to enhance detection of active cases and to isolate and treat positive cases, quarantining of close contacts and decontamination of the depots.

“Our whole government and whole community approach should work together to fight the virus. Negative sentiments against detainees must not be amplified and must not be a catalyst for discrimination in saving lives,” he said in an online posting this evening.

The cluster reported today involved six patients at the immigration depot in Sepang, Selangor. A cluster of 21 cases was reported in Semenyih yesterday.

On Thursday, 35 detainees in Bukit Jalil were reported to be infected, after 60 cases were reported there earlier. The 35 are citizens of Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Egypt.

Rights groups have been up in arms over the new clusters, saying that they have previously warned the government about the unhygienic conditions and overcrowding at the depots.

Noor Hisham said on Thursday that the 35 had been detained before Malaysia’s partial lockdown began on March 18. They were all not screened before being put in the detention centre, but were all isolated in one block at the depot.

Earlier today, senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said samples were being taken from 3,000 illegal immigrants and staff members at the two depots in Bukit Jalil and Semenyih.

Anyone who tested positive would be sent to the Serdang agro park centre which has been turned into a quarantine and treatment centre for low-risk patients.

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