Covid-19: 690 detainees to be screened following spike in Benteng LD Cluster

A stethoscope. - DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, Sept 10: All detainees at the Immigration Detention Depot (DTI) in Sarawak will be re-screened for Covid-19 following the spike in cases under Benteng Lahad Datu Cluster in Sabah.

The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), in a statement today, disclosed that an estimated 690 individuals will be screened.

This measure, it added, was a proactive step to detect any Covid-19 infections among detainees even though they have undergone screening before being brought to the DTI.

The Benteng LD Cluster is now the biggest active cluster in the country with 128 cases in the districts of Tawau and Lahad Datu.

The Benteng LD cluster was first detected on Sept 1 after two illegal immigrants from the Philippines were caught by the authorities under ‘Ops Benteng’, a joint operation by the police, Armed Forces and other agencies to catch undocumented foreigners.


The initial cases were found following a Covid-19 screening conducted on detainees at the Lahad Datu police headquarters.

The infection spread to the Tawau prison some 150km away after some of the detainees who had a travel history to Lahad Datu infected other inmates there.

Meanwhile, of the total of 95,133 individuals screened in Sarawak, 30.2 per cent were visitors from outside Sarawak, 18.4 per cent had contact with positive cases, 7.9 per cent comprised health workers, and the rest were tracked through various monitoring and surveillance activities.

SDMC revealed that a total of 120,407 samples were taken for rT-PCR Covid-19 tests in Sarawak as of Sept 9 and 700 people tested positive.

The cumulative positive rate in Sarawak was 0.74 per cent compared to Malaysia at 0.72 per cent.

The number of individuals who have been screened in Malaysia as of yesterday was 1,332,917 with 9,583 testing positive for Covid-19.

The number of samples for every 1,000 people for Sarawak is 30.84 and for Malaysia is 40.57.

Throughout August 2020, the total number of samples taken in Sarawak was 28,546 with an average of 920 samples a day. A total of 21 people tested positive for Covid-19.

During the same period, a total of 16,245 visitors entered Sarawak and were screened for Covid-19. Of the total visitors, 14 people (or 0.09 per cent) tested positive and had a history of travel from abroad, namely eight cases from Japan (Alam Cluster), three cases from Yemen and one case each from the Netherlands, Philippines and Pakistan.

To date, the State Health Department has also screened a total of 2,203 individuals who have been referred by enforcement agencies to government health facilities in Sarawak. Of these, only one person was confirmed positive for Covid-19.

SDMC revealed that surveillance activities which have been carried out include screening workers at construction sites, offshore signing-on and -off, plantation sector, ports and jetties, fishermen, private and public tertiary students, students and instructors of Tahfiz and Madrasah centres, returning teachers, travellers entering Sarawak from abroad, as well as at selected markets, schools, nurseries and kindergartens, and centres for the elderly.

Ongoing screening and surveillance has also been conducted for symptomatic patients at selected sentinel clinics (for influenza-like illness) or in hospitals (for severe acute respiratory infection), pre-surgical, overseas travel as well as random screening for domestic flights, Persons-Under-Detention (OKT) and at the Immigration Detention Depot and prisons. — DayakDaily