Malaysia has recorded more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases among schoolchildren since the third wave of the pandemic began last month
During the daily COVID-19 press conference yesterday 22 October, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 1,257 students were detected positive for the novel coronavirus between 22 September to 21 October.
Overall, since the beginning of the pandemic in February, a total of 2,145 school students have tested positive for the virus.
From February to 21 October, Dr Noor Hisham said 830 cases involved pupils aged seven to 12 years, while the other 1,315 cases involved students aged 13 to 18 years.
According to the Health D-G, the students tested positive because they were often related to other infected cases, and not that the infections began in the schools themselves
"The infections are usually carried into schools by someone who is linked to the reported clusters, or someone with COVID-19 positive family members, or related to a sporadic case," he explained.
"Should an infection happen at school, the school in question will be closed for a week to allow sanitation and disinfection as well as contact tracing."
Since the third wave began, Dr Noor Hisham also announced that 12 schools were closed after infections related to clusters were reported there
According to Malaysiakini, the schools that were related to clusters were:
- Three schools in Negeri Sembilan linked to Cahaya, Sofi, and Bah Manggis clusters
- Three schools in Johor linked to Simera and Rinting clusters
- Two schools in Kuala Lumpur related to Jalan Pantai and Long clusters
- One school in Penang related to the Alma cluster
- One school in Melaka related to the Bukit cluster
- One in Putrajaya related to the Selasih cluster
- One school in Sarawak related to the Bah Arnab cluster
Dr Noor Hisham said the Ministry of Health (MOH) will not announce the specific names of places - be it schools, condominiums, or shopping malls - to avoid fuelling fear and stigma in the area.
He said it was most important that the ministry takes action such as closing down the place and conducting disinfection if a positive case in an area was reported.
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MOH announced that they will not reveal the locations where COVID-19 cases are reported to avoid stigmatisation: