Health ministry wants to halt tabligh cluster spread at 5th generation

Bede Hong

Director-general of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says more than half the Covid-19 infections nationwide can be traced to people who attended the recent tabligh at Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, March 26, 2020.

FIVE generations of Covid-19 infections from the Seri Petaling tabligh cluster have been detected and the Health Ministry is working to contain it from further spread.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said medical officers are carrying out active case detection to contain the infections related to the event that was held from February 27 to March 3, attracting 16,000 participants.

“From the tabligh cluster, there are 711 index cases who infect their families,” he said.

“The family members are the first generation, who infect their neighbours and the neighbours infect their friends.

“So, we see five generations of infections, with five occasions of each person successively infecting the next individual.

“We need to identify those who have close contact with the tabligh attendees.

“We need to look at family members and their friends.

“Investigations can get complicated and it takes time,” he said, adding that the medical procedure involves testing, isolation and treatment.

So far, 2,031 people have been infected with Covid-19 since the outbreak began.

About 55%, or 1,117, of the infections can be traced to the tabligh event at Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling earlier this month.

More than half the 23 deaths are also linked to the tabligh cluster, Noor Hisham revealed today.

He added that of the 16,000 people who attended the five-day event, about 14,500 are Malaysians with the remainder foreigners from 25 countries.

“They are being investigated in their own countries,” said Noor Hisham.

Meanwhile, hospitals where healthcare workers have been infected – Teluk Intan Hospital, Perak, Selayang paediatric ward and Hospital Perempuan Zainab II, Kota Baru – were undergoing disinfection starting yesterday.

Noor Hisham also confirmed that 80 ministry staff have tested positive for Covid-19. He reiterated that none of the workers were infected at wards or intensive care units (ICUs) used to treat patients infected with the coronavirus.

Of that total, 39 staff were from Teluk Intan Hospital. All staff at the hospital have since been ordered to go for screening.

The Health Ministry is recalling 3,500 nurses and medical officers, including those that have retired, to assist the frontliners, 2,400 of which have already been deployed to hospitals nationwide.

He said the remainder are under training before being assigned to hospitals or facilities where needed.

New Covid-19 infections hit a new high today of 235 cases, bringing the total to 2,031.

Noor Hisham also announced that four have died in the past 24 hours, bringing this total to 23. – March 26, 2020.


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