Covid-19: 25 cases in Sarawak, Kuching back to red zone

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas. Photo credit: UKAS

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 28: Kuching has hit red zone status again after 21 out of 25 new Covid-19 cases in Sarawak today were reported in the state capital.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas revealed that of the 25 positive cases confirmed, 21 were reported in Kuching, two in Serian and one each in Samarahan and Lundu.

There were four cases involving visitors/returnees from overseas, random screening at entry points (1), healthcare worker (1), active clusters case detection (15) and the new Satok Market cluster (4), bringing the state tally of positive cases to 675 and 19 deaths.

“With 16 local transmission cases reported in the past 14 days, this brings the total number of cases to 53 for Kuching district.

“Serian has been turned into yellow zone from green after two local cases were reported while Lundu district also changed to yellow zone with one case reported and Bau district remained yellow with one case.

“As such, there is now one district in Sarawak categorised as red while four yellow namely Samarahan, Serian, Bau and Lundu,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 here today.

As for the four cases involving visitors entering Sarawak or returnees from overseas, Uggah informed that Case 1 and 2 were a foreign couple returning from the United Kingdom on July 23, and transited in Doha, Qatar before continuing their journey to Kuala Lumpur on July 24.

“The couple entered Sarawak through Kuching International Airport (KIA) on July 25. Both had rT-PCR Covid-19 tests in KLIA which results were negative. Their swab tests were found positive on July 27 when being quarantined in a hotel in Kuching. They were asymptomatic,” he said.

Case 3, the Deputy Chief Minister continued, involved a local female student who returned from South Korea on July 11 from KL and arrived in Kuching on July 25.

“Earlier RTK Antigen tests taken at KLIA on July 11 were negative for Covid-19. The rT-PCR test on the second day while being quarantined at a hotel in Kuching on July 26 were positive. She did not show any symptoms,” he added.

Case 4 involved a local man who worked in South America and returned to KL via London and Abu Dhabi on July 23. He arrived in KLIA on July 25 where he undertook the RTK Antigen test which was negative.

The rT-PCR test on the second day when quarantined at a hotel in Kuching on July 26 returned positive. He was also asymptomatic.

As for random screening at international entry points, Uggah disclosed that one case was reported involving a local man with travel history to Kuala Lumpur on July 14 in which he was swabbed on the 10th day (July 25) at a public health clinic.

“The result was positive and the case also had a travel history to Miri and Sibu on June 29 and July 24. He did not show any symptoms,” the Deputy Chief Minister explained.

As for random screening of healthcare workers, he informed that one case was detected involving medical personnel at a healthcare facility in Lundu.

The case was swabbed after making a declaration of visiting an outbreak area in the workplace. The cause of infection is still under investigation and contact tracing is being carried out.

Meanwhile, there were 15 cases reported from contact tracing on active clusters with nine cases linked to Sentosa Cluster in which one was medical staff, two employees of the facility and six social contacts; Kuching Engineering Company Cluster (4); and one case was a close contact in a flight from KL to Kuching on July 15 linked to Melbourne PUI Cluster.

For active case detection around markets in Kuching, Uggah said four cases were detected with all of them being traders operating in Satok market who were swabbed on July 25 and 26. The infection cause and contract tracing of the cases are still actively being carried out.

With the four cases detected in Satok market, the State Health Department announced a new cluster dubbed the ‘Satok Market Cluster’.

Today, there was only one recovery and discharged from the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) and as such, the total number of recovered cases in Sarawak is maintained at 564 or 83.56 per cent of total positive cases so far.

“As of today, 92 patients are being treated in hospitals throughout the state with none admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or requiring respiratory support,” he said.

There were 87 patients treated in SGH, four in Bintulu Hospital and one in Sungai Buloh Hospital.

Sarawak also reported 39 more person-under-investigation (PUI) today while three cases are still awaiting laboratory test results.—DayakDaily