The 173 measles-infected Orang Asli from the Bateq tribe who were quarantined for 36 days at the temporary evacuation centre in Taman Etnobotani, Gua Musang returned to their respective homes in Kampung Kuala Koh yesterday evening.
They were transported back in eight vehicles arranged by various government agencies, accompanied by police vehicles from the Gua Musang police headquarters. The convoy left the centre at noon and arrived in the village at 2.30pm.
Kelantan/Terengganu Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director Hashim Alang Abdul Hamid said the Orang Asli had been housed at the temporary evacuation centre since June 18, after receiving treatment at Gua Musang Hospital and Kuala Krai Hospital due to the measles outbreak.
After they were discharged from the hospital, Hashim Alang said, the Orang Asli were quarantined at the centre and not allowed to return to their homes in Kampung Kuala Koh in order to prevent the disease from spreading.
“After their health condition improved and were free of the disease while housed at the evacuation centre, we decided to send them back to their respective homes,” he told reporters in Gua Musang yesterday evening.
The measles outbreak in Kampung Kuala Koh, since early May, resulted in 15 deaths among the semi-nomadic Bateq tribe while 112 others are still receiving treatment at Gua Musang Hospital and Kuala Krai Hospital.
According to Hashim Alang, the Orang Asli returned to their homes in a comfortable state after several parties, including villagers, held s gotong-royong programme to clean up the village last Thursday.
Meanwhile, an Orang Asli resident from Kampung Kuala Koh, Injai Punai, said he was quarantined with his two-year-old daughter at the centre since the end of June after getting discharged from HGM.
The 32-year-old said his daughter was always given follow-up treatment when they were at the evacuation centre and she had fully recovered.