162 healthcare workers infected with Covid-19 as of Feb 8, majority tied to community transmissions

Dr Chin Zin Hing

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 9: In just over a month since the start of the year, a total of 162 healthcare workers in Sarawak have been infected with Covid-19 with the majority of them tied to community transmissions.

State Health Department director Dr Chin Zin Hing disclosed that of the number of Covid-19 cases among medical staff recorded between January and Feb 8 (yesterday), 75 of them have recovered.

“The cases were reported from healthcare facilities including public hospitals as well as clinics and health offices throughout Sarawak,” he told DayakDaily when contacted today.

Based on findings from investigations, Dr Chin explained that the majority of the cases or 44.1 per cent were infected from the community.

“38.2 per cent of the cases recorded among this category of workers were infected by colleagues while 17.6 per cent from patients,” he added.

To ensure the safety of healthcare staff on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Chin emphasised that advice and directives have been disseminated internally to reinforce safety procedures.

Meanwhile, State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)’s daily Covid-19 report indicated that all four major hospitals in Sarawak namely Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), Miri Hospital, Sibu Hospital and Bintulu Hospital have reported cases involving medical staff.

With Covid-19 also spreading to more rural areas of late, healthcare facilities as far as Song, Kanowit and Kapit have also reported cases in this category of workers.

With the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine scheduled to arrive this month, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassion has emphasised that some 500,000 frontliners including healthcare workers will be the first group in the country to receive the vaccine.

The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which is set to roll out at the end of this month, will be the biggest vaccination effort ever implemented in Malaysia.

The programme aims to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population in Malaysia or 26.5 million individuals for free.

Muhyiddin said the immunisation programme will be carried out in three phases with the first involving some 500,000 medical and non-medical frontliners.

“This phase is very important to protect our frontliners in the fight against Covid-19. The first phase of this immunisation programme is scheduled to be completed in April,” he said.

The prime minister added that the second phase from April to August will involve those at high risk of complications from Covid-19, namely the elderly and vulnerable aged 60 and above, and those with morbidity problems such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure including persons with disabilities who make up a total of 9.4 million people.

“For the third phase, it will involve adults aged 18 and above who will receive the vaccine between May this year and February next year. This phase is equally important to develop herd community and bring the pandemic under control,” he said. — DayakDaily