Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Monday warned of a spike in the country’s CCP virus cases following the nation’s worst flooding in years, with 181 new cases detected at several flood relief facilities.
Flooding struck eight Malaysian states on Dec. 18, displacing over 66,000 people who were relocated to flood relief centers. At least 14 people were found dead, eight of which were from Selangor and six from Pahang, according to state news agency Bernama.
Flood victims who were infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, Khairy said, adding that a total of 206 flood victims had been identified as close contacts of positive cases.
The cases include 117 in Selangor, 52 in Pahang, four in Kelantan, and six in Kuala Lumpur. Negeri Sembilan and Melaka have one case each. Khairy said the government will distribute medical supplies to all relief centers.
“During floods, the priority is to save the flood victims, and sometimes it cannot be helped, where some things that should be done, like public health measures, cannot be implemented or complied with,” he said.
Floods in Malaysia are common during the annual monsoon season between October and March, particularly on the country’s eastern coast. But the downpour that started on Dec. 17 and continued into Dec. 18 hit hardest in the western state of Selangor, Malaysia’s wealthiest and most populous region surrounding the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Videos posted on social media showed overflowing rivers, landslides, and cars submerged on abandoned streets.
Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Monday that the government would allocate 100 million ringgit ($23.7 million) in post-flood aid for homes and infrastructure repairs, and will give 1,000 ringgit ($237) to each household affected by floods.
Ismail has also ordered all agencies to aggressively help flood victims and instructed the Environment and Water Ministry to mobilize 20 mobile pumps to the affected areas.
“As of this evening, a total of 41 boats, 16 lorries, and other assets, as well as 321 rescue team members have been sent to Taman Seri Muda,” Ismail said.
Over on social media, however, Ismail faced criticism over allegations that his government has failed to promptly aid victims, with the hashtag #KerajaanPembunuh—which translates to “killer government”—trending on Twitter.
Malaysian netizens also accused Ismail’s son-in-law, Jovian Mandagie, of using a government-owned helicopter to escape the floods, although Mandagie has denied this on Instagram and said that he used a commercial helicopter.
Klang lawmaker Charles Santiago said on Dec. 18. that he had not “heard a squeak from Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob or his cabinet” when the flood victims were in need of an “urgent intervention” from the government.
“This is the time the federal government, state governments, lawmakers, and other key stakeholders offer help and aid without us asking for it,” Santiago said on Facebook.
Opposition politicians also questioned the government’s efforts to assist flood victims in Parliament on Monday.
“I don’t know what the prime minister is doing, even on the second day, there was no help,” Mohamad Sabu of the Amanah Party said, reported Free Malaysia Today.
Reuters contributed to this report.