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59 Hotel Staff In Langkawi Test Positive For Covid-19, Not Linked To Travellers

59 Langkawi hotel staff part of workplace cluster

Langkawi recently reopened for tourism under the new “travel bubble” concept. There has been no Covid-19 clusters reported among tourists since the “Jewel of Kedah” began welcoming back eager fully vaccinated individuals, but 59 personnel at a hotel in Langkawi recently tested positive for Covid-19.

The confirmed cases at the hotel are classified as a workplace cluster – Dah Teluk Nibung Cluster. Infections have been linked to the local community, and do not involve travellers to the popular tourist destination.

59 hotel staff test positive for Covid-19

On 4th October 2021, Kedah Health Department director Dr Othman Warijo revealed that 59 hotel staff tested positive for Covid-19 at an undisclosed hotel in Langkawi, as reported by Bernama. Investigations found that cases stemmed from the community, and spread to the workplace.

The hotel is now temporarily closed to help curb the spread of Covid-19 among the public. Its infected staff – all fully vaccinated and categorised under category one and two with mild to no symptoms – and 190 of their close contacts have been identified and screened for Covid-19.

The close contacts, mainly family members, have been placed under Home Surveillance Orders (HSO) for a period of ten days after testing negative for Covid-19; three are awaiting their swab test results, as reported by The Star.

Hotel staff confirmed Covid-19 cases Langkawi - screeningImage credit: Noor Hisham Abdullah

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin shared that a hotel in Langkawi had indeed halted operations after over 50 of its staff tested positive for Covid-19. He also shared that “MySejahtera’s automated contact tracing module sent out 73 casual contact notifications to individuals who checked in at Hotel ‘X'”, while reminding individuals to get tested if they received these notifications and show symptoms.

Workplace cluster not linked to first confirmed traveller case

On Monday (4 Oct), Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham also addressed the new Dah Teluk Nibung Cluster initially reported on 1st October, as reported by Bernama in another article. According to him, the first confirmed case involving a Langkawi “travel bubble” three-year-old traveller is not linked to the workplace cluster.

DG Hisham shared more information on the case, revealing that the child tested positive for Covid-19 on 26th September. Her parents are fully vaccinated, and were asymptomatic, testing negative before intending to travel to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.

The family and their close contacts have since been issued the HSO.

They were among 149 travellers have headed to Langkawi who tested positive for Covid-19 since 16th September. Another 186 individuals were classified as their close contacts. All in all, 40,458 individuals were screened for Covid-19 before travelling to Langkawi.

34,038 individuals among this total were tested at seven airport entry gates in Malaysia, while another 6,420 at ferry stations located at Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah. Meanwhile, 641 individuals opted to take Covid-19 self-test kits, while 2,975 children under six years of age were allowed to travel with their families without being tested.

New workplace cluster in Langkawi not linked to travellers

Langkawi has been welcoming back fully vaccinated individuals looking to travel again with necessary SOPs in place, such as Covid-19 screenings, to keep the public safe. As such, individuals looking to play tourist in their own country should remain mindful of SOPs to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

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Cover image adapted from: @shumski_sergei and Noor Hisham Abdullah