Malaysia

Health Ministry detects 219 positive Covid-19 cases, 16 clusters involving umrah pilgrims, says Dr Noor Hisham


Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the cause of infections was due to activities during umrah that did not comply with standard operating procedures (SOP) as there was no physical distancing, not compulsory to wear face masks and the pilgrims all came from different parts of the world. — Saudi Ministry of Media/Handout via Reuters
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the cause of infections was due to activities during umrah that did not comply with standard operating procedures (SOP) as there was no physical distancing, not compulsory to wear face masks and the pilgrims all came from different parts of the world. — Saudi Ministry of Media/Handout via Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — A total of 16 Covid-19 clusters involving umrah pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia have been detected from November 25, 2021 until today, with seven of the clusters’ index cases confirmed to be of the Omicron variant.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said six clusters involved Presumptive Omicron index cases, which are awaiting Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) results, and three involved non-Omicron variants Covid-19 positive index cases.

He said the cause of infections was due to activities during umrah that did not comply with standard operating procedures (SOP) as there was no physical distancing, not compulsory to wear face masks and the pilgrims all came from different parts of the world.

“Apart from that, when undergoing home quarantine upon returning from their pilgrimage, there were activities that did not comply with the SOP, such as visiting pilgrims or family members who had just returned from the Holy Land and other activities.

“The increasing number of clusters among umrah pilgrims as reported is considered serious and worrying because it happened in a short period while the transmission of imported cases among family members also occurred quickly,” he said in a media statement today.

Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 456 individuals had been screened from the clusters involving umrah pilgrims, with 219 positive cases identified, thus taking the positivity rate to 48 per cent.

He explained that all the 219 cases were in categories one and two and, so far, none of the cases required treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU), while no fatalities were reported from the clusters involving umrah pilgrims.

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In the meantime, he said the country’s cumulative total of Covid-19 recoveries now stood at 2,720,399 after 2,977 more recovered cases were recorded as of noon today while a total of 3,175 new cases were reported to take the total number of infections to 2,792,035.

Dr Noor Hisham also announced that a total of 99 new Variants of Concern (VOC) were reported from January 3 until yesterday, with 91 being new Delta variant cases and eight new Omicron variant cases. — Bernama



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