Uggah speaking at the press conference. (Photo: Ukas)


KUCHING: In light of the Benteng Lahad Datu Cluster reported in Sabah, the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has taken proactive measures to re-screen all occupants of immigration detention depots (IDDs) in Sarawak for Covid-19.

In a statement from SDMC on Thursday, they said that the estimated number of occupants to be screened was 690. 

“This is a proactive measure of SDMC to detect if there are Covid-19 infections among IDD occupants, even though they have undergone screening before being brought to the IDD,” they said.

The Benteng Lahad Datu Cluster was first identified on Sept 1 when two undocumented immigrants held at the Lahad Datu district police headquarters lockup on Aug 24 later tested positive for Covid-19 on Aug 31.

In a Covid-19 screening report, the committee said that as of Wednesday (Sept 9), a total of 1,332,917 individuals nationwide had been screened with 9,583 testing positive for Covid-19.

In Sarawak, a total of 120,407 samples involving 95,133 individuals had been taken for Covid-19 testing via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rT-PCR), with 700 testing positive for the virus.

“The cumulative positive rate in Sarawak is 0.74 percent compared to Malaysia’s rate of 0.72 percent. The number of samples per 1,000 people in Sarawak is 30.84 compared to 40.57 for Malaysia.

“Of the 95,133 individuals screened in Sarawak, 30.2 percent were visitors from outside Sarawak, 18.4 percent were contacts of positive cases, 7.9 percent were healthcare workers, and the remainder was detected through various monitoring and surveillance activities,” they said.

They explained that these surveillance activities included screening workers at construction sites, sign-on and sign-off oil rig workers, workers in the plantation sector, workers at ports and jetties, fishermen, students of institutions of higher learning, teachers returning from holidays outside Sarawak, markets, schools, and so on.

Continuous monitoring and screening were also carried out for symptomatic patients at selected sentinel clinics (Influenza Like Illness) or in hospitals (Severe Acute Respiratory Infection), pre-surgical screening, screening of travellers from overseas, random screening for domestic flights, and so on.

“Throughout August, the total number of samples taken for rT-PCR Covid-19 testing in Sarawak was 28,546 samples with an average of 920 samples per day. Twenty-one people tested positive for Covid-19.

“In the same period, a total of 16,245 visitors entering Sarawak were screened, with 14 (0.09 percent) testing positive and with a history of travel abroad – eight from Japan (Alam Cluster), three from Yemen, and one each from the Netherlands, Philippines, and Pakistan,” they said.

They said that to date, the State Health Department (JKNS) had also screened 2,203 individuals referred by the enforcement agencies to government health facilities in Sarawak, with only one person testing positive.