Sarawak reports new COVID-19 cluster

KUCHING (BERNAMA) – A new cluster called ‘Alam’ was reported in Sarawak yesterday after four crew members on board a ship anchored at Bintulu Port tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from the State Disaster Management Committee (JPBN) Sarawak, the oil tanker registered in Port Klang had been at Toyama-Shinko Port, Japan from July 27 to August 1, and stopped over at Labuan Port on August 10.

“En route to Bintulu waters, the captain informed the shipping agent that there were two crew members who were ill and needed hospital treatment.

“The initial investigation showed that the cluster originated overseas, that is to say it was probably introduced when crew signed on when the ship stopped at an international port.

“Investigations are still ongoing, with contact tracing and testing underway,” the JPBN statement said.

Malaysia’s Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. PHOTO: BERNAMA

JPBN also proclaimed that the Stutong Market Cluster has officially ended with no case reported in a 28-day period since the last one was recorded.

According to the statement, remaining active are the Engineering Company Cluster, Mambong Cluster, Sentosa Cluster, PUI Melbourne Cluster, Kuching Construction Company Cluster and Satok Market Cluster.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said in a statement that the Alam Cluster does not have a community transmission risk because it is an isolated imported cluster of cases aboard a ship.

He said it was detected after five crew members experienced symptoms and were tested for COVID-19, with four later testing positive and one still awaiting results. He said the imported cases comprised two Malaysians and two foreigners.

“They are being treated at Hospital Bintulu, Sarawak,” said Dr Noor Hisham while confirming that active case detection, the testing of close contacts, as well as control measures like ship disinfection and sterilisation have started.