Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

Malaysia jails Indian national linked to fresh coronavirus outbreak

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) – A Malaysian court jailed an Indian national for five months on Thursday (Aug 13) for violating a home quarantine order, leading to dozens of new coronavirus infections, the Bernama state news agency reported.

Nezar Mohamed Sabur Batcha, 57, who resides in Malaysia and owns a restaurant in the northern state of Kedah, pleaded guilty to four charges of violating a mandated 14-day home quarantine order upon his return from India in July.

He was also fined RM12,000 (S$3,925) by the Alor Setar Magistrate’s Court, which held a special hearing at a Kedah hospital where he was undergoing treatment, Bernama reported.

The authorities had earlier said Nezar, who initially tested negative for the coronavirus, had left his home during the quarantine period to visit his restaurant.

After a second test came back positive, dozens of people, including the man’s family members, restaurant workers and customers, were found to have been infected.

A total of 45 cases linked to the cluster have since been reported in at least three Malaysian states – Kedah, Perlis and Penang.

Malaysia has gradually lifted strict lockdown measures since May after successfully containing the spread of the pandemic, but has warned that curbs may be reimposed after more than a dozen new clusters emerged in recent weeks.

The country has reported 9,129 infections, including 125 deaths.

The authorities reintroduced a requirement last month for people entering the country to undergo the mandatory two-week quarantine at hotels and government isolation centres, after hundreds of incoming travellers were found violating orders to self-isolate at home.

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