PUTRAJAYA: A total of 103 new Covid-19 cases were recorded today, the bulk of which involve foreign nationals.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 84 of the new cases were foreign nationals, with 53 from the Pedas cluster and 24 from the cleaning company cluster.
There were seven imported cases, and with no new deaths, the death toll remains at 115.
Only 12 of the local transmissions today involve Malaysian citizens.
The new cases bring the total number of cases in the country to 7,732.
Sixty-six people have recovered and been discharged, bringing the total to 6,235.
A total of 1,382 patients are still being treated, with eight in the intensive care unit (ICU), including two requiring respiratory assistance.
Noor Hisham said most of the clusters involving foreign nationals stemmed from cramped accommodation, which makes social distancing impossible.
“This is a suitable medium for the spread of all sorts of infectious diseases including Covid-19,” he said.
He said the ministry welcomed the human resources minister’s announcement on the enforcement of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990.
“This is an issue which needs to be addressed immediately,” he said.
He said employers were also responsible for educating their workers on hygiene practices, Covid-19 prevention measures and adherence to the government’s standard operating procedures.
He congratulated the employer of the cleaning company cluster who took the initiative to test his workers. All 24 who tested positive, he said, did not show any symptoms.
Noor Hisham also said the infectious diseases issues faced by foreign workers could be resolved if those linked to their accommodation were addressed.
“We are not looking into a sector but their accommodation,” he said.
On a suggestion to stop sectors from reopening until all workers were tested, Noor Hisham said this was not practical as it would take months owing to the number of workers and the number of tests that could be carried out per day.
As such, he said, a targeted approach which the ministry has been taking was more appropriate.
Asked about the Covid-19 zone maps which the ministry stopped publishing over a week ago, he said these would be published again due to requests by the people.
“It is not the issue of transparency. At the health ministry, we practise accountability and transparency,” he said.
On the Covid-19 strain in the country and possible mutations, Noor Hisham said this was still being investigated by the Institute for Medical Research.
He said there was no need to wear masks while jogging or driving alone, and that masks were recommended in crowded areas and in public.
“If we can ensure social distancing (when jogging), we do not have to wear a mask,” he said.
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