KUCHING, Feb 26: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has raised red flags regarding the large crowds seen at the ongoing Citrawarna Keluarga Malaysia 2022 event along the Kuching Waterfront, which could potentially contribute to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
“We do not want this event instead to become an ‘Omicron Festival’,” he said, adding that unvaccinated children allowed to attend the festival are at higher risk of infection.
Despite assurance from Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Nancy Shukri that strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place, he was certain that SOP compliance would be hard to enforce.
He said he had seen photos of children and even adults not wearing face masks amongst the crowd at the festival.
“We must not take for granted the severity of Covid-19 and Omicron especially its effects on children with the possibility of causing serious complications, particularly the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
“MIS-C is a condition where different tissues and organs become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. It is the most severe form of Covid-19 in children and can be deadly,” he said in a statement today.
Dr Yii also reminded that Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had reported an upward trend of patients below 12-years-old being admitted to hospitals in February, due to Omicron.
Studies also found seven deaths among those patients resulting from MIS-C, and 57 per cent of infected cases involving children aged five to 11.
“This is something concerning and should not be taken for granted.
“That is why I urge the government and organisers to rethink some of the programmes to ensure that proper SOPs can be followed, controlled and better enforced. Only programmes where crowd control can be done properly should be held. Strict SOPs are useless without proper enforcement and control.
“Children below 12 shouldn’t be allowed to attend such events and clear reminders must be given continuously during the event itself. The fact of the matter is, events with difficult SOP-compliance control should be discouraged at the time being,” said Dr Yii. — DayakDaily