Covid-19: Public urged not to stoke panic with fake news

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 14: People are urged to stop spreading fake news and unverified information related to Covid-19 that could cause unnecessary panic in the community and make the situation difficult due to misinformation.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas warned that the authorities will not hesitate to take action against irresponsible parties who spread fake news about the novel coronavirus across social media.

Up until yesterday (July 13), he observed that there was news being viraled online which named certain places in Kuching as not safe following the detection of new Covid-19 cases in the past week.

“I have contacted the State Health Department to verify the news but it was not true. This will cause unnecessary panic and problems in the community and make things more difficult for people.

“We should all act responsibly and collaborate closely with the authorities as well as be ready to sacrifice a little for the good of all,” he said during a telephone interview with SarawakFM today.

The Deputy Chief Minister also revealed that a decision will be made on further actions and measures to be taken concerning several areas identified as high risk for transmission including schools, kindergartens, pre-schools, old-age homes as well as construction sites and plantations.

“In fact, since yesterday the State Health Department has taken random samples from construction sites throughout Sarawak to identify if the virus has spread within the sector.

“Today, we will hold a discussion with the Health Department’s officers to organise a programme for areas needed to conduct screening so to prevent further transmission of the virus in our community,” he explained.

On the full reopening of schools tomorrow (July 15), Uggah said a decision will be revealed later today on whether schools in Kuching in particular should be reopened following new Covid-19 infections in the city.

“It has been decided that all schools will resume classes tomorrow and I have visited a few schools in the urban and rural areas on their preparations and compliance to SOP including observing social distancing strictly.

“We will discuss this with the State Education director to see their decision of schools reopening especially in the Kuching area.

“I think schools in the green zone will not be a problem but most importantly, all must comply with standard operating procedure (SOP), social distancing, as well as reduce the number of students in schools,” he added.

Meanwhile, SDMC has decided that the reopening of all secondary and primary schools in urban Kuching will be postponed for two weeks.

The schools affected are those located within the jurisdiction of Kuching South City Commission (MBKS) and Kuching North City Hall (DBKU). — DayakDaily