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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, March 18: A huge Covid-19 outbreak has been declared at Semuja Immigration Depot in Serian after 99 detained illegal immigrants have tested positive for coronavirus.
This has sparked the creation of a new cluster dubbed Semuja Immigration Depot today.
State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas revealed that the cluster was identified following mass screening carried out by Serian Division Health Department after receiving information of a positive case among illegal immigrants who had been driven out from the Tebedu International Gateway at the Sarawak-Kalimantan border to Indonesia on March 11.
“Mass screenings were conducted on all officers of Immigration Department of Malaysia as well as detainees at the Depot.
“It was discovered from initial screenings that the immigration officers who escorted the illegal immigrants out of the State were negative,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 situation update in Sarawak today.
However, Uggah pointed out that further screenings on all immigration officers and detainees at the Depot have continued to be conducted to determine the source of infections.
“As a result of screenings on March 16 and 17, a total of 99 detainees (illegal immigrant) were found positive.
“A total of 584 individuals have been screened whereby 185 were negative and 300 were still waiting for lab test results,” he added.
Uggah, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, explained that only detainees at the Depot were presently found to be positive and no immigration personnel were involved.
All the 99 cases are now isolated and treated at the Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC) which has just been opened and operated in the Depot itself.
Meanwhile, Semuja Immigration Depot Cluster in Serian was one of two new clusters being declared in Sarawak today.
Another new cluster dubbed Sungai Atap was also identified in Meradong with 19 positive cases.
This thus increased the number of active clusters in Sarawak to 34.
Sarawak reported one Covid-19 fatality today and 303 new cases with Serian topping the list of daily infections with 101 cases followed by Bintulu (57), Sibu (47), Miri (27), Meradong (13), Kapit (10), Julau (9), Kuching and Sarikei (8 each), Sri Aman (6), Tanjung Manis (5), Bukit Mabong (4), Sebauh (2) while Bau, Belaga, Kanowit, Samarahan, Selangau and Subis has one case each.
This thus pushed the state tally of positive cases to 13,413. -DayakDaily