Rohingya who landed illegally on Langkawi appear clear of Covid-19

A boat carrying suspected ethnic Rohingya migrants is seen in Langkawi on April 5, 2020.
A boat carrying suspected ethnic Rohingya migrants is seen in Langkawi on April 5, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

LANGKAWI (THE STAR/ASIAN NEWS NETWORK) - None of the 202 illegal immigrants believed to be Rohingya who landed at the coastal area near the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Langkawi on Sunday (April 5) are showing any Covid-19 symptoms after tests were carried out.

Early health screening was carried out by the Langkawi District Department's health team on Monday, a day after they landed at the island, a popular tourist spot.

"During the initial screening that was carried out on Monday morning, none of them was found to have had a fever," said Kedah and Perlis Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy operations director Maritime Captain Zulinda Ramly.

"Currently, all 202 illegal immigrants aged between six and 55 are under the custody of MMEA at the Bukit Malut MMEA base. They comprise 152 men, 45 women, four boys and a girl," she added.

On the four men suspected to be the masterminds behind the illegal landing and whether the operation involved locals, she said: "No, all of them jumped into the sea and are believed to have boarded a foreign fishing boat to escape."

Capt Zulinda also said that for the movement control order (MCO), MMEA Kedah and Perlis has mobilised both its air and sea assets, and will work with other enforcement agencies.

"MMEA had foreseen that there would be increased attempts by foreign boats to invade the country's waters during the MCO period," she said.

Earlier, Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said the illegal immigrants had been isolated.

"We have isolated them and are currently carrying out testing and screening for Covid-19," he said during the daily ministry press conference on Covid-19 in Putrajaya on Monday.