Bintulu Covid-19 cases rising, quarantine facilities full: ‘You still have the mood for BBQ gatherings?’

A screengrab of Tiong interacting with medical personnel at an ACD operation in a residential area.

By Karen Bong

BINTULU, Sept 3: Bintulu MP Dato Sri Tiong King Sing is angered by the “couldn’t care less” attitude of people who he described as still “holding barbecue gatherings” when the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in Bintulu, as quarantine facilities begin to fill up.

Tiong reported that over 300 Covid-19 positive patients and 700 probable close contacts are still waiting for appropriate quarantine arrangements to be made, but there are no more beds available for them at the existing facilities including Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC) Bintulu at the moment.

“Even yesterday, 25 children under 18 years of age have tested positive and out of that, nine are under six-years-old.

“How many more cases must occur before residents start to comply with SOP (standard operating procedures) and stop gatherings to prevent outbreaks?,” he questioned in a social media post today.

As he observed that public apathy towards the fight against Covid-19 was also rising along with the ease of restrictions, he however warned that it will threaten the efforts to bring down the number of cases and eradicate outbreaks whose consequences they will have to bear.

“When the SOP is relaxed, many people start to feel like the pandemic has disappeared. In longhouses and housing areas, you can see residents gathering to hold barbecues.

“Now we find that outbreaks have begun to occur in the same housing areas and are more serious than ever. How much more warnings must we give to tell people not to hold gatherings at all at this time?,” he asked.

A screengrab of an ACD operation for residents including children at a housing area.

Tiong, who is also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, also warned restaurants may face another prolonged closure if the operators and the public fail to adhere to the SOPs.

“I want to remind everyone that all restaurants implement regulations to limit the number of hours customers can dine in. If diners violate this preventive measure and are issued a fine, do not blame law enforcement personnel. We must strictly implement this rule in order to prevent more transmissions,” he said.

On the quarantine issue, he urged medical personnel to make regular visits to check on patients under home quarantine in order to avoid any unnecessary fatalities due to unchecked quarantines like in Peninsular Malaysia.

Noting that patients with no or mild symptoms under Category 1 and 2 may be placed under home quarantine to free up more space for patients who needed close observation, he however advised those to monitor their health closely and seek medical treatment or call the emergency line immediately in the event that their conditions worsened.

“Everyone under home quarantine will have to wear a wristband. Once they are found to have left the isolation without authorisation, if they have covered the bracelets with long sleeves, and sneaked out, they will have to face the legal repercussions,” he warned.

“In this pandemic, if we don’t help ourselves, who else can help? Parents must think about the rising rate of confirmed cases,” he added. — DayakDaily