UTTER FAILURE – NEW COVID CASES HIT UNPRECEDENTED HIGH OF 1,884 – SABAH ABATES AS MIGRANTS FLEE TESTING WHILE SELANGOR GOES ABOVE 1,000 MARK

The Health Ministry today reported 1,884 new Covid-19 infections, a new record high in daily cases.

The previous record was set on Nov 6 with 1,755 new cases.

The spike was largely contributed by the Teratai cluster which involves workers from Top Glove’s factories in Klang.

Selangor made up a majority of the new cases with 1,203 infections. Out of this, 1,060 of them were from the Teratai cluster.

There were also 883 recoveries but the record number of new infections today means the patient load for Covid-19 hospitals is up by almost 1,000 in a single day.

The new cases today put the cumulative infections at 56,659 against 42,480 cumulative recoveries.

Leading indicators:

Active cases – 13,842 ↑ (999 more than the previous day)

Patients in intensive care – 115 ↑ (Nine more than the previous day)

Intubated patients – 48 ↑ (Two more than the previous day)

Deaths – 2 ↓ (ones less than the previous day)

The two new fatalities put the death toll at 337. Details about the death are as follow:

Patient 51,858 (Death 336) – 80-year-old Malaysian male. Passed away at Hospital Duchess of Kent, Sabah. No reported pre-existing conditions.

Patient 53,951 (Death 337) – 58-year-old Malaysian woman. Died at Sabah Women & Children Hospital. Had a history of high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A breakdown of the new cases by states is as follow:

Selangor (1203)

Sabah (289)

Kuala Lumpur (196)

Perak (81)

Negeri Sembilan (41)

Kedah (36)

Johor (15)

Penang (12)

Kelantan (9)

Putrajaya (1)

Perlis (1)

Labuan (0)

Sarawak (0)

Pahang (0)

Malacca (0)

Terengganu (0)

MKINI

 

In Sabah, pandemic rages as migrants flee testingtwitter sharing button

whatsapp sharing button
sharethis sharing button
Nearly a fifth of the infections in Sabah involved foreigners, according to government data. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Some flee on boats. Some hide in the stilts under their homes. Others run into the woods.

All across Sabah, stateless residents and undocumented migrants are fleeing public health officials conducting Covid-19 screenings, fearful of being detained or deported.

The race to tackle Covid-19 in Sabah, Malaysia’s biggest palm oil-producing state, is being complicated by an estimated one million undocumented migrants and stateless residents who account for a third of the population.

Sabah accounts for nearly half of Malaysia’s 54,775 recorded Covid-19 infections and over half its 335 deaths despite having barely a tenth of the Southeast Asian country’s population.

But health officials fear the real picture could be much worse as people evade screenings in fear of detention or deportation.

“We see authorities coming, we do what we’ve always done: run,” Ahmad Han, an undocumented migrant living on the outskirts of Semporna district in Sabah, told Reuters by phone.

As of Nov 17, nearly a fifth of the state’s infections involved foreigners, according to government data obtained by Reuters.

They included stateless indigenous communities as well as refugees and migrant workers from neighbouring Philippines and Indonesia, countries that have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the region.

Sabah has recorded 192 deaths from Covid-19 so far. Of the 176 fatalities recorded in the state as of Nov 16, 63 people died even before receiving treatment, including 40 foreigners, according to the data provided by Sabah minister Masidi Manjun. The data included both documented and undocumented migrants.

“Many would flee whenever they see nurses in uniform or an ambulance,” Masidi, who is also the state’s spokesman on Covid-19 matters, told Reuters.

“We are constantly trying to convince them that they won’t be arrested or deported when they go for Covid-19 testing. But the response has been lukewarm to say the least.”

Malaysia’s crackdown on undocumented migrants since the start of the pandemic has also worsened fears among vulnerable communities, rights groups say. The country has detained thousands, including during lockdowns, in what it says are efforts to stem the virus’ spread.

‘Challenging’

Covid-19 infections have been surging in Sabah since a state-wide election in September.

Movement restrictions have already hurt production of palm oil, a key export for Malaysia, while an emergency has been declared in one eastern Sabah region to prevent a by-election during the pandemic.

Deprived of income due to lockdown measures and ineligible for government aid, many of the undocumented people depend on working odd jobs to survive and fear that being forced to quarantine would leave their families unable to fend for themselves.

Doctors in Sabah say some migrants delay seeking treatment even after falling ill, likely leading to more severe Covid-19 infections and the state’s higher death rate.

“Many come in only when they’re at the stage where they’re having trouble breathing,” said one doctor at Tawau Hospital in eastern Sabah, who declined to be identified as staff were not authorised to speak to the media.

Masidi said health officials were working with aid groups and local authorities to reach vulnerable groups.

On islands off Semporna, the Bajau Laut community of sea nomads, most of whom are stateless, only came forward after health officials teamed up with aid agencies to persuade them to undergo screening in exchange for supplies such as rice, oil, baby formula and sanitary pads.

But even after they were tested, many fled as they feared being quarantined on land.

“Logistically, it’s a huge challenge,” said Ahmad Kamil of the Sabah-based Surah Al Falah aid group.

“Many communities live far in the interior or on remote islands so it’s hard to do contact tracing or transport patients to health facilities.” FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

MKINI / FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

.

 

.