KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has given the ‘all-clear’ for the quarantined crew of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN) KD Lekiu frigate.
The crew successfully underwent a second health screening for the deadly Covid-19 virus at the RMN base in Lumut, Perak, yesterday.
They were earlier subjected to an initial health screening at the RMN base in Kota Kinabalu, upon arrival from South Korea on March 5.
Western Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Aris Adi Tan Abdullah said the health screening for the Covid-19 virus was carried out professionally by medical staff from the health ministry and the Armed Forces.
“The RMN is very concerned with the well-being and health of its personnel, especially when undertaking a mission.
“With the health clearance, all the crew are now free to return home to be with their families.
“We thank all concerned, especially the family members for their patience while the health screening was undertaken as per the outlined procedures,” he said.
A total of six medical officers and 18 paramedics from the Armed Forces carried out the health screening along with three doctors and nine paramedics from the Health Ministry in Lumut.
“They checked the crew for body temperature and took mouth and nose swabs, the samples of which were sent to the public health laboratory in Ipoh, Perak.
“This second test was carried out, as a precautionary measure, to fully ensure that none of the crew had contracted Covid-19,” said an RMN official.
It was reported that all of KD Lekiu’s 164 crew had tested negative for Covid-19 when the first health screening of their blood samples was conducted on March 5.
All the samples were sent to the Kota Kinabalu’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for analysis, which took between four to 12 hours.
KD Lekiu had returned from a 16-day journey to the Samsung Heavy Industries jetty in Geoje-Do, Busan, where it had earlier escorted a Petronas Floating Liquefied Natural Gas 2 tanker.
It had earlier departed Kota Kinabalu on Feb 5 and arrived at Busan on Feb 12.
KD Lekiu then left Busan on Feb 18 and returned to Kota Kinabalu for refueling and replenishment of supplies, enroute to the RMN base in Lumut, Perak.
KD Lekiu is the second RMN vessel to have its crew screened for Covid-19.
On Jan 30, 57 RMN personnel involved in the construction and training for the second littoral mission ship (LMS) Sundang, were also cleared of the virus.
The 57 include 12 who were the forward batch sent to monitor the construction of the vessel in Wuhan, China - the epicentre of the outbreak - since July 6, 2017.
The second batch of 45 personnel were sent to Qidong, Shanghai, on Nov 5 last year, for familiarisation training and to sail Sundang to its home base in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, by the middle of April.
All personnel have since returned to Malaysia.