To prevent stigma, Health D-G says will only name Covid-19 clusters after confirming if infections are active in the area

R. Loheswar
·2-min read
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya on October 22, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya on October 22, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — With new Covid-19 clusters emerging daily, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said the Health Ministry will not identify the area of infection until it is certain that there is a concentration of cases there.

The Health director-general said this is to prevent causing undue stigma to a locality where such clusters are named.

“We do not identify these things and there is a lot of pressure on MOH to announce the locality, the families or the individuals. We do not want to create stigmatisation in that region.

“If a restaurant or school has cases, we will close them down and do the sanitisation and disinfections then we resume next week,” said Dr Noor Hisham in his daily press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia.

He explained that Covid-19 clusters are decided based on h the number of cases reported to the Health Ministry within a particular area within 24 hours.

He added that once confirmed to be a cluster, active case detection and screenings will be conducted on the area’s inhabitants.

During the briefing, Dr Noor Hisham was asked if there was a connection between cases at the Pelangi Damansara Flats at Persiaran Surian, Kota Damansara and the Utama cluster in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

There were 23 Covid-19 positive cases reported at the Pelangi flats, following the cases at the 1Utama shopping mall.

Malaysia’s social media was abuzz with speculation on how widespread the infection is now, and whether the Utama cluster may have led to other clusters forming.

Two days ago, Dr Noor Hisham said the Utama cluster was now in its sixth generation of infections.

Today, Dr Noor Hisham said the public should not give in to fear but try to understand the science behind the work being done to curb Covid-19.

“But the point we want to avoid is the stigmatisation. Once you know the place has a case, you would not want to go to that school, condo or mall because of the fear.

“If we understand better in terms of the science, then we know that things have been done [right] be it at the restaurant or elsewhere. So we try to avoid stigmatisation.

“If there is a case, we will do our best and clean up the area, that’s why I won’t mention names,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

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