Belaga residents welcome dropping of Covid-19 swab test requirement to enter Bintulu

From left: Umie Liau and Lasa Tidom

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BELAGA, Sept 19: Residents here have reacted positively to the news that fully vaccinated individuals entering Bintulu do not need to show a negative r-T-PCR swab test effective yesterday.

Previously, they would have to spend close to RM150 to have their swab test taken and would only be allowed to enter Bintulu if the result returned negative for the coronavirus.

Sungai Asap resident Umie Liau said the requirement to get a negative r-T-PCR test had caused unnecessary financial burden to the people of Sg Asap, Pekan Belaga, Tubau, Murum and all the surrounding areas who need to pass through Bintulu.

She pointed out that those sending their children for education matters in Bintulu and many other important purposes needed also to fork out money to get tested.

“We are delighted and thankful now that we don’t have to undergo a swab test to either cross or enter Bintulu. With this I urge the people to continue observing the SOP (standard operating procedure),” she said.

Another resident, Lasa Tidom, also expressed relief that the swab test requirement has been done away with.

“Previously when we wanted to go to Bintulu for important matters, we had to go for swab test at Belaga Health Clinic which cost us RM150. This is a big sum of money to us. Belaga is in Kapit Division. But we prefer not to go to Kapit for important matters as not only the express boat fare is quite high at RM55 but we have to spend a night in Kapit since there is no return boat on the same day,” he said.

Lasa said Sungai Asap residents who wanted to go to Miri or Sibu were also forced to do swab tests as they needed to pass through Bintulu.

Businesswoman Timah Unya who runs her business in Sibu, heaved a sigh of relief when she heard of the lifting of the swab test requirement by the Bintulu Division Disaster Management Committee.

“I have not gone back to my kampung in Belaga for quite some time now. As there is no need for a swab test anymore, I plan to go back soon,” she said.

Bintulu Resident Jack Aman Luat yesterday disclosed the Bintulu Division Disaster Management Committee had decided to follow the instruction issued by SDMC lifting the requirement for r-T-PCR and rapid antigen testing for inter-district travel.

However, a police permit is still required to cross into or enter Bintulu.

Jack however said that those who had received only one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine need to take the r-T-PCR swab test and must get a negative result before they can enter the division. — DayakDaily