NSTP Journalist Tests Positive For COVID-19 After Covering Sabah Elections

"Ever since the Movement Control Order (MCO) started on 18 March, I have not stopped doing live stories about COVID-19... But today, I tested positive."

Cover image via Azrul Affandi Sobry HM (Facebook)

A journalist from New Straits Times Press (NSTP) has tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from covering the state elections in Sabah

Taking to his personal Facebook account, Azrul Affandi shared that he is still in disbelief that he has become a victim after reporting about the coronavirus at length.

"Ever since the Movement Control Order (MCO) started on 18 March, I have not stopped doing live stories about COVID-19, until I have been called 'Covid Teacher'. But today, I tested positive," he wrote on Monday, 5 October.

The 42-year-old was assigned to carry out editorial duties surrounding the elections in Sabah from 10 September to 30 September

According to an interview he did with The Star, upon arriving back in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last Wednesday, 30 September, he did the mandatory COVID-19 swab test like all other returnees.

The concerned father also asked his wife and children to stay with his in-laws while he underwent quarantine at their home in Kajang.

"I did not want to take any risk. I stayed home alone in the house after returning from Sabah," he told the English daily.

Documenting the rest of his experiences on Facebook, he shared that he started to develop symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, joint pain, and fatigue over the next few days.

He was finally admitted to Sungai Buloh Hospital for isolation and further testing on Sunday night, 4 October.

Media Prima has since announced that an NSTP employee who recently returned from Sabah has tested positive for COVID-19

Although they did not name the affected employee, the media group assured that "the affected person had been undergoing self-quarantine and had not visited any Media Prima premises since returning from Sabah".

"Media Prima will provide necessary support to the affected person. We pray for a speedy recovery," they said in a statement, according to New Straits Times.

The group also assured that all of its other employees who returned from covering the Sabah state election have undergone the mandatory COVID-19 screening and are still observing the 14-day self-quarantine at home.

"Media Prima would like to state that the safety of all employees is its top priority," they said, adding that they are working closely with health authorities to minimise exposure of the virus to all employees.

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