By: Christina Chin
GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA - Two Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) campuses will close for a week after students tested positive for the influenza A (H1N1) virus.
The campus in Permatang Pauh has 10 students affected by the virus, while the campus in Seri Iskandar has 280.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said 200 Permatang Pauh UiTM students had been quarantined at their homes or hostels till Wednesday after developing flu symptoms.
"The 10 confirmed cases are being monitored. The students have been isolated and are being treated at Hospital Seberang Jaya," he said, adding that there were 5,000 students in the campus.
Phee said the St Anne's Church in Bukit Mertajam had been briefed on the precautionary measures to take as 100,000 people were expected to throng the church for the annual St Anne's Feast which culminates on Sunday.
"We will have people coming from Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia so we have to be on guard," he said.
In Ipoh, 280 students from the UiTM campus in Seri Iskandar developed influenza-like symptoms.
Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said the campus would re-open on July 31.
"The decision to close the campus comes after a sudden increase from 55 cases to 280 within a day. Those affected have been sent home and placed under home quarantine," he told reporters yesterday.
Dr Mah said health officials had taken random throat swap samples from 10 students to check for the A (H1N1) virus.
Students and lecturers of the Seri Iskandar campus, totalling about 10,000, were being sent home in batches.
Meanwhile, health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said 11 people were on anti-viral medication in hospitals nationwide while 909 had recovered, including four who were receiving out-patient treatment in their homes.
He said 44 new cases had been reported over the last 24 hours. Of these, 41 were locally transmitted while three were imported cases.
Of the 41 locally transmitted cases, 38 were from five clusters and the remaining three were "sporadic" or isolated cases.