KL wholesale market closing for 3rd time, 170 Covid-19 cases reported

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Kuala Lumpur wholesale market, Selayang, will close for nine days from May 9 after 170 traders and workers from the seafood section tested positive for Covid-19.

Nazir Sufari/TMI

This is the third time an outbreak has been linked to the seafood sellers at the market.

KL Hoi Seong Fish Wholesaler Association president Sing Kian Hock said there were 160 seafood stalls with nearly 900 workers at the market.

Of the 900 workers, 170 have tested positive for the virus, while others are still waiting for their test results.

He said they were asking to close on Monday instead, because they wanted to clear their stock and avoid similar losses to those suffered when the market was last closed for a Covid-19 outbreak.

Sing told The Malaysian Insight that reported cases began to escalate on April 29, and further testing through to May 3 found more positive cases, up to eight or 10 every day.

“When we realised that the situation was quite serious, we asked that all fishmongers and workers should be screened, and those who had close contact with the confirmed cases to be isolated.”

He added that the situation at the market has been reported to officials from the Ministry of Health today.

The market has 448 stalls employing more than 4,000 people, which includes traders and workers.

Of this 168 are seafood stalls, 216 vegetable stalls, and 64 fruit stalls.

The outbreak was transmitted among those working at the seafood stalls, and the number of confirmed cases doubled in just a few days.

Sing said that the source of the infection is still unknown, but it must have been imported from outside, adding that some vendors have attended birthday and dinner parties.

“April 22 was the first case, and the second case was detected a day later. (The source could be from) those attending banquets and birthday dinners. Then eight people were diagnosed at the same stall from April 26 to April 27.”

He estimated that 30% of the workers have not been screened, and he advised everyone to get tested for their own safety and the safety of their families.

This is the third time the market has to close, after outbreaks in January 2021 and April 2020. Although the infection only occurred among fishmongers, the risk of infection spreading to vegetable and fruit vendors is quite high. – TMI