By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Aug 20: Sarawak today recorded four imported cases of Covid-19 in Bintulu.
The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) in a press statement revealed the new cases were detected following Covid-19 swab tests involving the crew of an oil and gas tanker which had berthed in Bintulu waters upon its return from Toyama Port in Japan.
Five people had disembarked from the ship and were admitted to Bintulu Hospital for further treatment and investigation.
The Covid-19 swab tests which were conducted on August 18 returned positive for four of them.
Of these, two were locals while one is a Filipino and another is an Indian national.
With these new cases, a new cluster known as Alam cluster has been identified.
According to SDMC, the ship is an oil and gas tanker which was registered at Klang Port. It sailed to Toyama Shinko Port in Japan on July 27 to August 1 before a stopover at Labuan Port on August 10.
The captain of the ship had informed its agent that two crew members were ill and required medical treatment from a hospital while the ship was heading towards Bintulu waters.
Following investigations by the officers of the Bintulu Health Department on August 18, they discovered that five of the crew members of the ship had developed Covid-19 symptoms.
Five crew members were allowed to disembark and sent to Bintulu Hospital for further treatment.
All underwent Covid-19 swab tests, with four testing positive today (Aug 20).
The Bintulu Health Department will conduct Covid-19 swab tests for the remaining 22 crew members of the oil tanker as well as close contacts of the crew.
SDMC revealed that early investigations suggested the source of the Covid-19 infection for the cluster was from overseas, adding that it could possibly have come from crew who sign on to the ship when it stopped over in international waters.
Further investigation into the cluster’s origins is ongoing.
With the new cases, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in Sarawak has increased to 686.
Meanwhile, the Stutong Community Market cluster has ended today after no new cases emerged in the past 28 days.
Thus, there are currently seven active Covid-19 clusters in Sarawak: engineering company cluster, Mambong cluster, Sentosa Hospital cluster, Melbourne PUI cluster, Kuching construction company cluster, Satok market cluster and the Alam cluster.
SDMC revealed one patient has recovered and was discharged from the hospital today.
There are six Covid-19 patients still receiving treatment in hospital isolation wards.
SDMC also disclosed there were 17 new Persons-Under-Investigation (PUI) while four PUI cases were awaiting laboratory results.
Ninety persons have registered as Persons-Under-Surveillance (PUS) as of today.
Meanwhile, 734 PUS are undergoing quarantine at 14 hotels throughout Sarawak.
As of today, a total of 21,910 PUS have completed their quarantines. — DayakDaily