By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 7: With more workplace clusters emerging in Sarawak, employers, industry players, businesses and the public sector will need to implement weekly rapid antigen testing for staff so as to provide an extra layer of defence against the spread of Covid-19.
Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian emphasised that regular testing will help to reduce the risk of outbreaks occurring, slow the spread of Covid-19, enable the safe reopening of the economy and most importantly, keep employees, their families and the wider community safe.
“Five out of seven clusters (reported) today (yesterday) are workplace clusters. We probably will need to (initiate) self-testing using RTK-Ag (Antigen Rapid Test Kit) like Singapore and the United Kingdom for us to reopen business safely and sustainably,” he said on a social media post last night.
Sarawak, he explained, is currently in the fourth wave of Covid-19 driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant which has caused Sarawak to become the first state in Malaysia to experience a post-vaccination outbreak with record-high spikes in cases.
He noted the tremendous disruptions and suffering on all aspects of people’s lives as many struggled and are still striving to survive in the wake of the pandemic’s impact on jobs, the economy, education and public mental well-being.
Dr Sim, who is also the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor, however stressed that despite the strong differences in opinions on protective measures taken, Sarawak like Singapore and the United Kingdom in a post-vaccination era will need to focus on tackling and recovering from the social and economic impact of the prolonged Covid-19 crisis.
“Though Covid-19 is only around 20-months-old, there is a massive infodemic as everyone in the world is learning more about the virus everyday. To make matters worse, the virus constantly mutates with the current Delta variant and the latest Mu VOC (variant of concern).
“Sarawak has come through the first to third wave because we are able to come together in the spirit of solidarity, united in our focus and supporting each other to emerge stronger as a nation,” he added.
The first wave of Covid-19 infection in Sarawak lasted from April to May 2020 and saw 19 people die from the deadly illness.
The second wave, which saw the first major outbreak in rural Sarawak in the first three months of this year, was triggered by the infamous Pasai funeral cluster where more than 2,600 people were infected.
The third wave between April and June this year was the result of the prioritisation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCID).
“We shall successfully overcome the fourth wave together as we did in the past,” Dr Sim said while urging people to stay calm and rely on science and data instead of rumours and hearsay to have better awareness about Covid-19. — DayakDaily