ISKANDAR PUTERI, Aug 22 — The presence of variants of concern (VOC) in Johor is one of the causes for the rapid spread of COVID-19 among industrial workers, the Johor State Legislative Assembly was told today.
Johor State Health and Environment Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said a total of 16 VOC cases involving the Delta variant were reported in the state as of last Thursday, namely 11 cases in Tangkak, two in Segamat, one each in Muar, Batu Pahat and Pontian.
“The spread of infection within the industrial sector is also closely linked to many industrial workers who move across the state to Red Zone locations for vaccination purposes. To date, a total of 142 industrial clusters are still active.
“The Johor State Health Department (JKNJ) found that industrial workers who crossed the state to the Red zone locations brought back the COVID-19 virus and spread it to colleagues and housemates living in workers’ hostels,” he said.
He was replying to a supplementary question from Abd Taib Abu Bakar (PN-Machap) regarding the significant increase of COVID-19 cases in the state during the fourth session of the the Johor State Assembly sitting at the Sultan Ismail Building, Kota Iskandar, here today.
Vidyananthan (PN-Kahang) said another factor was the placement of industrial workers, especially foreigners in a congested and crowded environment, including workers’ buses.
He said following that, the state government would always monitor the situation, especially clusters linked to factories through relevant agencies in addition to strengthening and reactivating the manufacturing industry in Johor through the initiatives outlined by JKNJ.
“Factories with positive COVID-19 cases will be closed for at least 24 hours, in accordance with Act 342, to allow the health team to conduct detailed investigations, contact tracing, determine areas at risk and carry out disinfection exercise,” he said.
The vaccination drive under the Public-Private Partnership Industrial COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PIKAS) for factory workers will also be expedited to ensure that they would be vaccinated as soon as possible.