Most of the new coronavirus infections reported by Malaysia on Thursday were detected at an immigration detention centre where authorities are holding undocumented migrants rounded up in areas under lockdown this month, according to Reuters.
Of the 50 people who tested positive, 35 were being detained at the Bukit Jalil immigration detention centre, located in the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
The UN has called on Malaysia to end the crackdown, which it said has spread fear among migrant communities in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, which has so far reported 7,059 cases, with 114 deaths.
The director general of Malaysia’s health ministry, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said the 35 positive cases include 17 people from Myanmar, 15 from India and one each from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Egypt.
“The source of infection is still under investigation … we need to investigate in detail before making any comments,” he said.
Felipe Gonzalez Morales, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants said on Wednesday that Malaysia’s approach was not helping to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
“The current crackdown and hate campaign are severely undermining the effort to fight the pandemic in the country.”