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Malaysia's coronavirus cases jump after outbreaks in detention centres

This article is more than 12 months old

112 undocumented immigrantsinfected as country records 172 new cases

Coronavirus clusters at three immigration detention centres for undocumented migrants made up most of 172 new infections in Malaysia - the first time in two weeks that the figure has hit three digits there.

A total of 112 cases were detected at the Semenyih, Bukit Jalil and Sepang immigration detention centres.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said: "Everyone, including the detainees and staff, was screened, just like how it's done at areas where the enhanced movement control order (MCO) has been implemented."

Dr Noor Hisham advised the public not to worry about the increase in the number of positive cases detected at the detention centres, as the premises are in isolated areas and under surveillance by the authorities.

"The ministry will continue to cooperate with the Immigration Department, the police and other government agencies to manage the cases involving detention depots."

There are 18 such detention centres under the Immigration Department nationwide.

With no new deaths reported, the death toll in the country remains at 115.

In another development, 214 people were fined after they were caught attempting interstate travel without authorisation on the first day of Hari Raya on Sunday, said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Mr Ismail Sabri also said 14 people were fined after they were found to have travelled to their hometowns after bypassing police roadblocks.

"Many do not believe me when I said that the police will continue monitoring the situation during the festive season. Those who bypassed roadblocks will be traced," he said.

"This was proven on Sunday, where 14 compounds were issued to those who had travelled interstate and are in their respective hometowns."

He added: "This is a serious matter and many took it lightly."

In other coronavirus-related news from the rest of South-east Asia, Thailand said it is conducting tests on macaque monkeys as it races to produce a cheaper, alternative coronavirus vaccine it hopes will be ready by 2021, a top researcher said yesterday.

Dr Suchinda Malaivitjitnond, the director of the National Primate Research Centre of Thailand who oversaw Saturday's vaccine injections to an initial group of 13 monkeys, said she hoped a "Made in Thailand" vaccine would be cheaper than a European or American drug.

The testing phase on the macaque monkeys came after trials on mice were successful, researchers said.

If the tests on the macaques go well, human trials should start in October, said Dr Kiat Ruxrungtham, chair of the Chula Vaccine Research Centre at Chulalongkorn University. - THE STAR, AFP, REUTERS

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