Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, the country’s Religious Affairs Minister, yesterday (October 5) said he tested positive for COVID-19.
Malaysia is facing a new wave of infections, with a record 432 new confirmed cases on Oct 5 (Monday) for a total of 12,813 infections.
The news that Mr Zulkifli has tested positive for Covid-19, as well as the rising number of new cases, has caused public anger.
The South China Morning Post reports citizens are complaining that officials who do not follow social distancing and isolation guideline have helped fuel the uptick in cases.
An outcry arose after several politicians did not go into isolation after returning from the elections held in Sabah, an area which has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases, last week.
However, according to the government, the rise in cases is because of undocumented immigrants.
The religious affairs minister had met with PM Muhyiddin and other cabinet officials, including Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, on Saturday (Oct 3), ironically enough, to discuss the pandemic situation in Malaysia.
By the following day, Mr Zulkifli announced via a Facebook post that he tested positive for Covid-19, and asked those he had been in close contact with to get tested as well.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمKepada Allah saya berserah, kepada-Nya jua saya memohon pertolongan.Seperti yang telah saya…
The minister seems to be asymptomatic so far, writing on Oct 4, “I am currently undergoing treatment because I’ve tested positive. Alhamdulillah, up to now I am still in good health.”
Following this, the Prime Minister announced that everyone who had been in the cabinet meeting had also undergone testing, and would go into isolation for two weeks.
“Members of the meeting who are not close contacts have been told to observe self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from Oct 3 to 16 and conduct self-health monitoring at home for 14 days using the ‘home assessment tool’ in the MySejahtera app,” PM Muhyiddin said.
For his part, PM Muhyiddin added that he had undergone swab test on Sept 22, 26, and 29 and that all the tests he had undergone every two weeks since April had been negative. He also assured the public that government business would proceed as normal.
In a statement, he said, “I will continue to work from home and use video conferencing to attend important meetings that I am required to chair.”
The Prime Minister has gone into quarantine for the second time since May when an officer who attended a post-Cabinet meeting also tested positive for Covid-19. —/TISG