Saturday, December 4

New ‘Alam Cluster’ appears in Sarawak involving ship crew members in Bintulu


A bird’s eye view of Bintulu Port. File Photo

KUCHING (Aug 20): A new cluster dubbed the ‘Alam Cluster’ has surfaced in Sarawak with the detection of four new positive Covid-19 cases among crew members of a ship docked at Bintulu Port, the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) said today.

SDMC said the ship carrying the crew was an oil tanker registered in Port Klang, Malaysia.

“The travel history of the ship showed that it had stopped at Toyama Shinko Port, Japan from July 27 to Aug 1 before stopping at Labuan Port on Aug 10.

“While on its way to Bintulu waters, the captain of the ship informed the ship’s agent that there were two crew members who were ill and in need of hospital treatment,” it said.

It pointed out that further examination by the Bintulu Division Health Office on Aug 18 found that five people had experienced the early signs and symptoms of Covid-19.

“All of them were signed off and brought down and sent directly to Bintulu Hospital for further investigation and treatment.

“The rT-PCR test carried out on them found that four out of the five crew members who showed signs and symptoms of early Covid-19 infection returned positive results for the virus on Aug 20.”

“Screening of the remaining 22 crew will be carried out soon including screening of all contacts who may be at risk of infection during the process of bringing the cases down from the ship to the hospital.

“Preliminary investigations have shown that this cluster is caused by a foreign infection, which may be carried by the crew who signed on board the ship during a stopover at an international port,” said the committee.

It added that further investigations on this cluster are still underway and tracing and screening of all contacts are in full swing.