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No more Covid-19 spikes expected as depot screenings almost completed

KUALA LUMPUR (June 6): The number of positive Covid-19 cases in the country is not expected to see another spike after Thursday's record high of 277 new infections, according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Malaysiakini report today.

He said this was as the Health Ministry was nearly done with Covid-19 screenings for detained migrant workers as well as personnel in charge at four immigration depots at Bukit Jalil, Semenyih, Sepang and Putrajaya.

"We are nearly done with the second screening conducted in Bukit Jalil with the positive cases isolated and admitted to hospital for treatment.

"We don't expect to see another sharp increase like the 277 cases recorded two days ago," he said at the ministry's daily Covid-19 update press conference in Putrajaya.

Overall, 4,908 individuals were screened from the immigration depot cluster and Noor Hisham said only two individuals from the Bukit Jalil depot are awaiting their test results as of today.

The screenings found 736 positive cases and all but one involved undocumented migrant workers in detention.

"We have advised the Immigration Department to send back (deport) the negative cases," Noor Hisham said.

Malaysiakini said he also reiterated that the ministry will continue to monitor public adherence to existing standard operating procedures, particularly among migrants, towards preparation for an overall exit strategy from the conditional movement control order (MCO).

The detention depot cluster was first detected when the Health Ministry conducted tests after Myanmar nationals who were deported from Malaysia tested positive for the virus back home.

Following this, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced plans to deport detained migrants who have been tested negative for the coronavirus with the cooperation of the Indonesian, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Cambodian embassies.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had recently ordered for the deportation of undocumented migrants to be hastened as part of Malaysia's mitigation against the risk of Covid-19 infection at immigration depots.

While the MCO was first enforced on March 18, various migrant rights groups had since the initial phases warned against the mass detention of migrants citing cramped conditions at the detention depots as a potential risk for an outbreak.

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