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Bukit Jalil depot: Ministry probing if detainees or staff caused infection

Annabelle Lee

Published
Modified 23 May 2020, 11:32 am

CORONAVIRUS | The Health Ministry is looking into whether the Bukit Jalil immigration depot cluster of Covid-19 cases was caused by gaps in pre-entry screening procedures. 

The cluster, which has 60 cases and no deaths thus far, comprises detainees who were arrested before and during the movement control order (MCO).

According to the ministry’s director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, those arrested during the MCO were supposed to be screened twice before those without symptoms were allowed into the depot.

“Perhaps one or two of them had actually not been screened.

“Or perhaps (they were screened when the virus was) during incubation, and it had not been detected,” he said.

The ministry is also investigating if immigration officers at the depot were the source of infection.

Noor Hisham said all depot staff have screened negative for the virus thus far.

“Perhaps we will look into whether the staff themselves (are) bringing in the infection because the detainees are not going anywhere, but the staff are going in and out.

“So far (in) our screening (for) 114 staff, all (are) negative,” he said, adding that this cause had been excluded.

He previously said that the depot had about 1,400 detainees in total. 

Aside from the Bukit Jalil facility, 21 Covid-19 cases have also been detected at the Semenyih immigration depot in Selangor.

The source of infection at the second depot is also under investigation.

Following the outbreak, the ministry has disinfected both facilities.

It will next travel to all such depots nationwide to conduct health checks and provide basic health services for the detainees.

Today, Noor Hisham said that the ministry is also scrutinising prisons across the country.

“We are making sure they comply to the standard operating procedures that we have,” he said.


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