Decreasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in Sarawak not manipulated, says Uggah

Uggah (third left) beating a traditional instrument as a symbolic gesture to open the AgriCOP witnessed by other distinguished guests.

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BARAM, Nov 27: There has been no manipulation on the numbers of daily Covid-19 cases in Sarawak which are on the downward trend as the figures are reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas highlighted this today in refuting such claims spread on social media.

“The State government has no hand in this. Some netizens are accusing the government of manipulation to justify its decision for the 12th Sarawak Election to be held soon,” he said when officiating at the Agriculture Community Outreach Programme (AgriCOP) at Kampung Long Bemang community hall, Long Bemang here today.

Uggah elaborated that the R-Naught or infectivity rate was at 0.87 yesterday which was the lowest in the country, while hospital admission for serious Covid-19 cases was still low.

“As far as positive cases are concerned, the MOH has reported 137 cases today compared to 144 yesterday,” he added.

For the record, Sarawak had reported 239 cases on Nov 23 and subsequently 192 cases and 171 cases for the following two days respectively.

Uggah attributed the decrease of Covid-19 cases in Sarawak to the statewide vaccination programme where 90.5 per cent of eligible individuals had received the two-dose vaccines which accounted for 75.5 per cent of the State population.

He added to date, some 634,684 people had been given the booster dose.

“The State government is right in calling for the election now. We fear the emergence of new variants, apart from the monsoon season expected from January to February next year if we wait until next year (to hold the election).

“Coincidentally, MOH had yesterday reported the emergence of a new variant the B.1.1.529 where 77 cases had been reported in South Africa, four in Botswana, and two in Hong Kong,” he said.

The B.1.1.529 variant, which has been named Omnicron by World Health Organisation (WHO) today, has triggered the global alarm as experts and researchers said the variant is the most significant one found yet with 32 protein spike mutations which was twice that of the Delta.

“Scientists worldwide are still trying to find out if this variant is more contagious than the  Delta variant and whether it can lead to severe illness and could possibly undermine the efficacy of present vaccines,” he noted.

Uggah, who is also Bukit Saban incumbent, thus called on all Sarawakians to continue to be vigilant and strictly comply with standard operating procedures (SOP) including during the election period.

“We must protect ourselves in order to protect our loved ones and our community at large,” he reminded.

On the AgriCOP, Uggah said it was the State government’s initiative to transform the agriculture sector.

“We want the sector to be a modern one, leveraging technologies for superior quality and volume to help us become an exporting nation by 2030.

“Diversify your activities and don’t just rely on oil palm,” he advised farmers.

Baram MP Anyi Ngau, Telang Usan incumbent Dennis Ngau, and Sarawak Agriculture Department director Dr Alvin Chai were among those present. — DayakDaily