CM: Sarawak to ease, lift Covid-19 curbs but preparations to move towards endemic strategies take time

Abang Johari addressing a press conference during a visit to Simanggang. Also seen is Uggah (left). Photos credit: UKAS

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By Karen Bong

SIMANGGANG, Sept 11: Sarawak will look into easing or lifting Covid-19 curbs including entry restrictions into Sarawak but preparations to transition into endemic stage to live with the virus and coming up with strategies towards making Sarawak a Covid-19 resilient state will take time.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the State government will review the current standard operating procedures (SOP) including for entry into Sarawak once “we move from pandemic to endemic Covid-19”.

“Based on Ministry of Health, once we reached certain threshold, we will review the SOP.

“We will transition into endemic Covid-19 stage once wider vaccine protection among the people have been achieved as we are now rolling out vaccine for teenagers and young children.

“I must stressed here that we will have to live with Covid-19. From the history of infectious diseases like cholera, influenza and others, over time, we have to live with it. But as time goes by, more medicines will be produced to fight the disease,” he told a press conference today.

Abang Johari, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and State Health director Datuk Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed, was in Simanggang to visit the teen vaccination drive at the Civic Centre vaccination centre (PPV) and inspect the waterfront project.

Abang Johari during a walkabout around the Sri Aman waterfront which has been upgraded.

Elaborating further, Uggah pointed out that the present SOP are still being enforced in Sarawak including the entry restrictions into the State.

“But we will review the SOP from time to time by taking into account the current pandemic situation.

“With high vaccination coverage in Sarawak, like I have mentioned before, we will move from pandemic into endemic Covid-19 and the SOP will either be eased or lifted. But as to when this can happen, it will take time (for the planning and to come out with the strategies),” he explained.

Abang Johari added that even though the number of daily cases in Sarawak of late may be high at 3,000 mark, but most or 99 per cent are in Category 1 and 2 who are without or mild symptoms as a result of high vaccination coverage.

“This means that the cases are not in life-threatening condition (otherwise, it may overwhelm the healthcare system),” he said.

At this stage, he emphasised that SOP remained an important measure to protect oneself from being infected and infecting others as most economic sectors and activities have already resumed as per normal.

“We will let more economic activities to resume once larger Sarawak population is protected with vaccine. But now, we must adhere to the SOP,” he said.— DayakDaily