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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 25: Deputy Chief Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian hopes Covid-19 vaccinations for kids aged 5 to 11 can be expedited in Sarawak after the scheduled national rollout on Feb 3 to keep schools safe for the return of in-person learning.
Dr Sim emphasised the importance of Covid-19 vaccinations for children to keep them safe in schools following the emergence of education clusters in Kedah with 525 students and 25 teachers infected and 15 schools ordered to close since Jan 18.
“I am very sure it is Omicron. It shows how fast-spreading the variant is.
“We may not be on time to vaccinate our children for Chinese New Year but I hope vaccines will be rolled out after Feb 3 in Sarawak,” he said at the media appreciation event organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions held at its headquarters here today.
Dr Sim, who is also the Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government, cautioned that no matter how many hospitals are built, there would not be enough facilities to cope in the event of a surge in cases compared to Peninsular Malaysia.
“That’s why we are very mindful with our precautionary measures, just like turning on the water tap slowly so that it can be turned off with a flick,” he added.
He also welcomed the revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the upcoming Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration which allowed celebrations to be held on the first two days with close family members as well as lion dance performances on the first to fourth days and on Chap Goh Mei of the spring festival celebration.
“Deputy Chief Minister (who is also the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman) Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas has taken into consideration the cultural and economic needs of the Chinese community and the low (number of) daily cases of Covid-19 currently.
“This is because of the cooperation from the people (in adhering with SOPs) and performing self-testing that has enabled Sarawak to keep the number of cases low.
“Despite the relaxation, people must continue to be vigilant and stay safe because we want everybody to celebrate many more Chinese New Years to come,” he added.
With no surge in cases post-State election, Dr Sim hoped with the close cooperation from the public in observing all safety and health guidelines, the trend will remain as such after the CNY celebrations.
“Please stay safe and keep your priorities right by keeping good health so that we can all enjoy the prosperity ahead,” he advised.
Federation president Dato Richard Wee, Kota Sentosa assemblyman Wilfred Yap and other Chinese community leaders were among those present. — DayakDaily