The Pasai cluster in Sarawak has finally ended after almost four months, with a death count of 25 people, as announced by the Health Ministry yesterday.
This makes it the second deadliest Covid-19 cluster in Malaysia thus far, behind the Sri Petaling Tabligh cluster which registered a total of 34 deaths.
For comparison, the Tembok cluster in Perak, which has also ended, had the third-highest death toll with six deaths.
A majority of Covid-19 clusters do not register any deaths at all while those with recorded deaths usually have fewer than five.
The Pasai cluster was first detected among longhouse residents in Sibu on Jan 9, 2021, when Sarawak began recording an uptick in Covid-19 cases.
At the time, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said longhouse infections were the ministry's "greatest fear" in the rural areas.
In February, he revealed the cluster originated from an interstate traveller who underwent home quarantine.
This index case was an individual who had travelled from Johor to Sarawak on Dec 29 last year due to her father’s death.
She tested negative when swabbed at the Kuching International Airport but later, on Jan 5, she tested positive at a local clinic.
“The patient was supposed to be quarantined at a hotel but ended up being quarantined in the longhouse and that’s where the infections took place,” Noor Hisham said.
After the longhouse residents sought medical treatment, 46 healthcare workers also got infected.
“They (the healthcare workers) thought the area was a green zone (with no cases) but when cases were detected, they also became infected,” he added.
The cluster also saw an enhanced movement control order being imposed on eight longhouses in the rural area.
The Pasai cluster ended with 2,693 cases after it spread from Sibu to 20 other districts in Sarawak.
The 20 districts are Mukah, Miri, Sri Aman, Kanowit, Kapit, Simunjan, Dalat, Bintulu, Kuching, Julau, Sarikei, Selangau, Beluru, Betong, Belaga, Subis, Song, Lundu, Sebauh and Bukit Mabong.
Sarawak yesterday recorded its highest daily new cases in the state, with 607 new cases.