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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 14: Nine Covid-19 positive students from SK Tarat and SMK Tarat reported last month have led to some 900 people being traced, screened and quarantined.
Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian thus warned that a small number of community cases should not be taken lightly given the 14-day incubation period of Covid-19 and that the spread could involve multi-generation of contacts.
“(This puts many people) in tremendous suffering (when) work, business and other daily activities are disrupted,” he said in his Facebook post last night, referring to the Tarat Tani Cluster.
Stressing on the magnitude of work involved from trace to test and isolate, Dr Sim commended Serian District Health Office for their hard work in containing the cluster at 51 cases and no death reported to date.
Schools, he continued, are one good example to demonstrate the challenges faced by the public health sector as surge in cases can cause the healthcare system to collapse with hospitals and quarantine facilities hit full capacity.
“From the education angle, with just 4 to 5 cases, classes can be closed. (But) this is not just a school cluster as infected students could have infected their families, teachers and others who came into close contact.
“From a health angle, consider the number of students, all their families and teachers who all have to be quarantined for 14 days,” he explained.
Dr Sim, who is also State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor, also called on people to be on high alert as Kuching-Samarahan-Serian Zone is seeing an upward trend in Covid-19 cases.
Kuching, Samarahan and Serian recorded 57, 16 and five Covid-19 cases respectively yesterday.
Under Kuching District Health Office, there were a total of 68 cases, out of which 18 were locally imported cases registered in Bau (10), Lundu (2), Samarahan (4) and one each in Serian and Betong as well as five domestic imported cases.
Of the figure, three cases were symptomatic, four detected from pre-screening and 38 were identified as close contact to positive cases.
“The number of cases in Peninsular Malaysia was low 14 days ago but two weeks later, they have overtaken Sarawak,” he said.
Dr Sim thus observed that Peninsular Malaysia could have kept the numbers low and contain the outbreak if restrictions were not relaxed while testing continued to be carried out.
“The ICU (intensive care units) will not be filled up despite additional beds, equipment, manpower and so forth,” he added.
Success of public health especially in this pandemic time, Dr Sim pointed out takes hard work from weeks to months in ensuring policy, restrictions as well as preventing or averting more cases and deaths.
“Success of hospitals is when you as a sick individual, you go in and come out alive.
“Let’s learn from the mistakes of others as Sarawak does not need to suffer the same fate. We need to work together, have understanding, play our role and do our part,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily