KLANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - At least 50 staff members and an undisclosed number of patients at a major hospital in Selangor's Klang town have tested positive for Covid-19, a health official said on Thursday (Dec 17).
Klang is the same town where the coronavirus spread in recent weeks in the factories and dormitories of the world's biggest glove maker, Top Glove.
Investigations carried out by the Selangor Health Department and the hospital, the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR), have so far been unable to shed light on how the Covid-19 infection had taken root at the facility, said Selangor health director Sha'ari Ngadiman.
He said it was not clear if these 50 staff members had picked up the virus earlier and passed them on to patients who are hospitalised, or the other way around.
Malaysian authorities on Monday lifted a month-long lockdown on dormitories housing Top Glove Corp workers, after more than 5,000 employees tested positive for Covid-19.
Last month the government put in place strict movement controls and ordered Top Glove to shut its factories in stages to facilitate the testing of its more than 11,000 workers in Klang.
Dr Sha'ari said on Thursday: "Klang, being in a red zone and an increase in severe acute respiratory infection cases that sought treatment at HTAR may have caused the increase in Covid-19 cases (the hospital).
"The hospital is always cautious and ensures the standard operating procedures and the usage of personal protective equipment is always adhered to."
The hospital staff who were infected have been taken for treatment to a large hospital in Sungai Buloh, one of the main designated centres for Covid-19 treatment.
Dr Sha'ari confirmed that there were HTAR patients who were infected but did not reveal the numbers.
Sources claim there were about 100 Covid-19 positive cases in HTAR, with 50 of them being patients who had been admitted there to be treated for other ailments.
Dr Sha'ari said the situation was under control with all the contacts swab-tested and placed under home surveillance order.
All patients who had come in contact with the infected hospital staff were also swab-tested.
"Patients were still being treated (at the hospital) and the situation is under control.
"The public is advised to not come to the hospital, unless it is necessary,'' said Dr Sha'ari.
Earlier, Klang MP Charles Santiago lambasted the health ministry and the state health department for allowing the hospital to keep the matter under wraps until the issue had spread widely on social media.