Labuan reports first two suspected Covid-19 cases
Published on: Thursday, February 20, 2020
By: Iffah Dilaney
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LABUAN: A couple was detained at Labuan Airport Tuesday night after they showed symptoms of being infected by the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The husband, 30, is from Labuan while his wife, 22, a Chinese national from Shandong, China. They were detained upon arrival from Kuala Lumpur, after the immigration officers found them to have visited China recently.

Upon checks by health officers, they were suspected to have the symptoms of the virus and referred to hospital.

Based on a preliminary investigation the couple had just returned from Xiamen, China, on Feb. 17 and boarded the flight to Labuan Tuesday night.

The wife admitted to have been coughing for the past two weeks. Labuan Health Department director Dr Ismuni Bohari said the duo have been placed under quarantine in an isolated room.

“It is part of the department’s initiative to ensure potential cases are studied as early as possible,” he said. Test results would only be available after within 24 to 72 hours depending on the case.

Daily Express learnt that police are assisting the Ministry of Health to track down passengers who were sitting next and close to the duo in the same flight in hotels or lodgings here.

A female student of a higher learning institution here has been quarantined since Monday (in a sick bay) upon arrival from one of the China provinces (not disclosed) as necessary measures and procedure. 

The student who is in good health is now undergoing online study. 

Meanwhile, some 35,000 arrivals at various entry points across Labuan were screened by the state Health Department since the thermal screening measures were implemented here beginning Jan. 25. 

Its Director Dr Ismuni Bohari said it included people entering the island through air or sea (including docked vessels) as of Tuesday.

Dr Ismuni disclosed that his department also installed a thermal scanning machine at the Labuan International Ferry Terminal on Wednesday for more efficient screening of arrivals here.

“The machine has been installed will be fully utilised beginning today (Wed) to screen particularly international arrivals (via Brunei and Kota Kinabalu) more efficiently and accurately,” he told reporters after visiting the terminal to monitor the use of the thermal scanner.

Dr Ismuni said the machine was placed at the ferry terminal as priority screening is conducted there due to international arrivals.

“As Labuan Airport is for domestic arrivals, we conduct secondary screenings there using mobile thermo-scanners (forehead thermometers) instead of a machine.

“However, our department is proactive with its stringent checks at all entry points across the island to ensure to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

He added that his department has been working closely with the Marine Department, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), National Security Council (NSC) and other relevant agencies for the screening of offshore vessel crews and people entering the island through alternative entry points which are likely to go undetected.

Dr Ismuni also reiterated that the two Chinese nationals detained off Labuan waters as reported recently had been thoroughly checked and found to be negative for Covid-19 infection. 



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