Bintulu, Sibu, Miri on the road to recovery as districts begin to show downward Covid-19 trends

Covid-19 caseloads in Bintulu, Sibu and Miri showing different levels of downward trending statistics from May 16, 2021 to July 16, 2021. Graph compiled and drawn by DayakDaily.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, July 17: Bintulu, Sibu and Miri districts which have been frequently reporting triple-digit Covid-19 daily caseloads since April, are finally seeing a downward trend in their numbers.

According to statistics from the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), DayakDaily observed that the three districts have begun to register double-digit, or even single-digit case numbers daily in the past one week.

It was a definite breakthrough as compared to the hundreds of cases per day in each of the three districts not long after the outbreak began in January. Since then, Sarawak’s Covid-19 toll has been on the rise constantly, up until mid-June.

As early as April 30, Bintulu hit a record high of 202 new cases in one day. On May 11, Miri reported one of its highest figures with 160 cases, and later on May 28, Sibu topped the list with 159 positive cases in 24 hours.

After June, the overall Covid-19 situation in the whole of Sarawak began to clear up as vaccination programmes in each district started to roll out. Relatively, the caseloads, especially in Bintulu, Sibu and Miri where vaccination footprints were most sound, saw obvious downturns.

For a comprehensive analysis, the Covid-19 scenario in Bintulu, Sibu and Miri for a period of seven days from July 10 to 16 was compared with the same period of time from June 10 to 16.

Table comparing the Covid-19 weekly trends in Bintulu, Sibu and Miri between June 10 to 16 and July 10 to 16, 2021. Compiled and drawn by DayakDaily.

Looking at the numbers between the July week and the June week based on table in figure, there has been an obvious drop in the overall number of Covid-19 cases in all three districts.

Note that Bintulu has showed an obvious improvement from 103 cses on June 14 down to only two cases a month later, on July 13. In June, Bintulu recorded mostly above 40 cases daily, but in July, the records were mostly single-digit with the highest reaching 13 cases on July 10.

A similar downward trend can be observed in Sibu where it reported 63 cases on June 13 and only nine cases on the same day in July, though the overall double-digit figures over the two months remained. Between the two weeks, there was also a notable decrease of 434 total cases from June’s 571 to July’s 137.

Although not as significant, the Covid-19 situation in Miri showed great development too as it registered a single case yesterday (July 16) after over a month of double and triple-digit figures.

The trend in Miri was seen to be rather constant except for spikes such as the jump to 178 on July 13 where 169 of them were detainees from the Miri Central Prison who tested positive for Covid-19 in connection to the Tembok Miri Cluster declared on July 9.

Comparison of daily Covid-19 caseloads between Kuching and Bintulu from May 16, 2021 to July 16, 2021. Charts compiled and drawn by DayakDaily.
Comparison of daily Covid-19 caseloads between Kuching and Sibu from May 16, 2021 to July 16, 2021. Charts compiled and drawn by DayakDaily.
Comparison of daily Covid-19 caseloads between Kuching and Miri from May 16, 2021 to July 16, 2021. Charts compiled and drawn by DayakDaily.

Things, however, have not been as satisfactory in Kuching as the daily caseloads in the district have yet to see its first single-digit record for at least two months now. Between May 16, 2021 to July 16, 2021, the lowest daily caseload in Kuching was 42 on May 16 while the highest of 238 was yesterday.

Kuching, of late, has shown an upward trend in its daily case numbers and mostly were reported to be individuals who had close contact with Covid-19 positive cases.

In the past week, only one new cluster was declared on July 14, dubbed the Sentosa 2 Cluster, which initially saw 52 medical officers and residents of the hospital testing positive for the virus. As of yesterday, the hospital cluster swelled to 83 after registering an additional 29 new cases.

On top of everything, a total of 17 Delta variant cases were also reported in Kuching on July 13. Compared to its predecessors, the Delta variant is been known to be more lethal, possesses higher transmissibility and is more infectious.

Sarawak is keeping its fingers crossed as the Delta variant has not turned up in other districts besides Kuching yet.

Despite all the ups and downs, Sarawak managed to enter Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) on July 14 and dine-ins are now allowed in food eateries where their employees have received at least the first dose of vaccines.

Though Sarawakians are looking for more industries to be opened up and restrictions to be relaxed or even revoked, the Sarawak government especially SDMC is urging the public to remain focused on adhering to the standard operating procedures.

Sarawak has about a month left to hit the target of achieving herd immunity by the end of August and for it to enter the following phases of the NRP. — DayakDaily