Sivaganga Cluster In Kedah Leads To COVID-19 Infection Of 2 Primary School Students

Five schools in the state have been ordered to close to contain the spread of infection.

Cover image via Google Maps/The Straits Times & Yusof Mat Isa/Malay Mail

Out of the 14 new cases that the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday, 2 August, 11 were identified from the Sivaganga cluster in Kedah

The cluster arose from a person under surveillance (PUS) who violated home quarantine upon his return from India to visit his nasi kandar restaurant at Pekan Napoh, Jitra.

The permanent resident and restaurant owner tested positive on his second COVID-19 test which led to contact tracing and active case detection of all who visited the restaurant between 13 July and 24 July.

People queuing outside a government clinic in Napoh in Jitra, Kedah.

Image via Penang Kini/Facebook

The individual has become the index case to 19 other coronavirus infections, which include two primary school students

The authorities found seven of the man's close contacts positive for COVID-19, including four foreign workers from his restaurant, two Malaysian men, and also the restaurant owner's own child.

The recent 11 new cases in Kedah are all further close contacts of these two Malaysian men linked to the restaurant. This second generation of infections involves patients as young as two years old, two primary school students, and other individuals aged 27 to 60.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announced that all new patients have been admitted to Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar for treatment

According to New Straits Times, he said active case detection was still being carried out by the district health office to identify more close contacts.

Cleaning and disinfection activities have also been conducted at the restaurant and the schools of the two students.

"As of noon [on Sunday], 313 individuals linked to the cluster have been screened with 20 confirmed positive, 280 negative, and 13 pending results," said the Health D-G.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Yusof Mat Isa/Malay Mail

Five schools in Kedah linked to the cluster have also been ordered to close with immediate effect to contain the spread of infection

Bernama reported that the Kedah state government ordered schools in Kubang Pasu and Padang Terap districts to close until 29 August.

The schools are namely Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Hosba, SMK Megat Dewa, Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Hosba and SK Megat Dewa in Kubang Pasu, as well as SK Kubang Palas in Padang Terap.

"All these schools will be closed for 28 days, which includes the 14-day quarantine and 14-day surveillance period," said the state government in a statement.

It was also decided that a Targeted Enhancement Movement Control Order (TEMCO) would be implemented in Mukim Ah, Mukim Hosba, and Mukim Binjal in Kubang Pasu, as well as Kampung Ulu Padang Sanai in Padang Terap.

"This involves controlling the public's movement over a 1km radius from the affected nasi kandar restaurant."

A view of SMK Hosba, one of the schools ordered to close in Kedah.

Image via Malay Mail

Meanwhile, Malaysia now has 8,999 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 210 are active

The other three out of the 14 new cases include an imported case involving a non-citizen from the Philippines who was infected abroad and two more locally-transmitted cases from Labuan, Sabah who were detected at the international sea entry.

The MOH also recorded no new deaths and 17 recoveries, bringing the country's recovery rate to 96%.

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