First Local Transmission Cluster of COVID-19 in Malaysia: Public Health Response

Document Type: Case Series

Authors

1 Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia, 40170 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

2 Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC), Kedah State Health Department, Ministry of Health Malaysia, 05400 Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia

3 Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC), Selangor State Health Department, 40100 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

4 Kuala Muda District Health Office, Ministry of Health Malaysia, 08000 Sg Petani, Kedah, Malaysia

5 Petaling District Health Office, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

6 National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC), Disease Control Division, Minsitry of Health Malaysia, 62590 WP Putrajaya, Malaysia

Abstract

Introduction: Rapid public health response is important in controlling the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this study, we described the public health response received by the Ministry of Health of Malaysia in managing the first local transmission cluster of COVID-19 related to mass-gathering and inter-state traveling to celebrate a festival.
Methods: We summarized strategies implemented by the Malaysia Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) in managing the first local transmission of COVID-19. We collected information related to the epidemiological investigation of this cluster and described the inter-state network in managing the outbreak.
Results: This first local transmission of COVID-19 in Malaysia had a history of contact with her older brother, the index case, who was the first Malaysian imported case. Only two positive cases were detected out of 59 contacts traced from the index case. Close contacts with infected person/s, inter-state movement, and public/family gatherings were identified as the sources of transmission. A large number of contacts were traced from inter-state traveling, and family gatherings during the festive season, and health consultations and treatment.
Conclusion: Close contacts from inter-state movement and public/family gatherings were identified as the source of transmission. Family or public gatherings during festivals or religious events should be prohibited or controlled in COVID-19 prevalent areas. A structured surveillance system with rapid contact tracing is significant in controlling the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

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