Dr Sim: Imported Covid-19 cases can pose serious threat to community spread

File photo of Dr Sim addressing the press at the entrance of the old DUN Complex here today (July 1, 2021).

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 9: Imported Covid-19 cases can still pose a serious threat to community spread in Sarawak as evident from the onset of this global health crisis to the drastic surge linked to Pasai Cluster and the current wave that is driven by the Delta variant.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian explained that the coronavirus made its way into Sarawak in March last year, six to eight weeks after the first case was reported in Peninsula Malaysia.

In the whole of last year, he shared that Malaysia recorded 113,010 cases and 471 deaths while Sarawak had only 1,117 cases and 19 deaths.

“The first Covid-19 surge in January this year was due to an imported case from Johor which triggered the Pasai Cluster (in Sibu).

“In May, Sarawak reported several days of record-high number of cases in Malaysia but fortunately, it coincided with the scaling up of vaccinations in Sarawak while the rest of Malaysia experienced a tsunami surge in cases and deaths with the arrival of Delta in Malaysia.

“Six to eight weeks later, Delta (was) imported to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur. This caused a surge of Covid-19 cases beyond Greater Kuching six to eight weeks later,” he elaborated in his social media post last night.

As of Sept 12 this year, Malaysia recorded 1,995,171 cases and 20,419 deaths, while Sarawak had 160,320 cases and 625 deaths.

Recollecting the history of Covid-19, Dr Sim pointed out that imported cases by Sarawakians or non-Sarawakians from outside Sarawak can result in severe disruptions, sufferings and hardship to not only livelihood but also the government’s response efforts.

“This is not blaming (anyone) but the facts gave us an understanding of the situation.

“Sarawak is now in the post-vaccination and Delta variant era. Though Sarawak is now back to the top in Malaysia with the highest number of confirmed cases, severe cases, deaths, ICU (intensive care unit) admission and ventilator utilisation remain among the lowest in Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Sim, who is also State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor, emphasised that Sarawak must be on highest alert to help slow down the spread of Covid-19 within the community through a combination of non-pharmaceutical and public health measures.

“(This is to reduce) the viral load (in community), severity (of illnesses) and community transmission so that our hospital facilities, our doctors and nurses would not be overwhelmed by cases due to the surge and every patient will get the best care possible to recover.

“In our war against Covid-19, we know that the virus will continue to mutate and as such, Sarawakians must also continue to change and adapt to the new normal for lives to go on,” he added.— DayakDaily