Dr Sim: New and more contagious Covid-19 variants rapidly infecting younger population

File photo of Dr Sim Kui Hian speaking during a live broadcast.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 19: The Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 is different from 2020 as rapidly emerging variants of the virus which are more contagious have hit children and young people harder, resulting in them developing increasingly serious symptoms of the disease.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian emphasised that the emerging variants have even made its way into countries like Taiwan and Singapore, which have been rather successful in countering the outbreak, and caused soaring infection rates in India, Thailand and Malaysia.

While he remained cautiously optimistic that the pandemic situation in Sarawak could improve to turn more districts into green zones, he urged the community to stay on high alert, especially post-festival celebrations.

“(I’m) cautiously optimistic with more areas turning green (which is reflected in the local cases recorded in the past 14 days), but the red (zones) seemed to be recalcitrant (it is not good enough to just stay plateau as cases need to come down).

“(We) need to keep a very alert eye on any post-festival surge between day 7 and 14,” he advised in a Facebook post last night.

Assessing yesterday’s Covid-19 situation in Sarawak, he observed there could be more clusters appearing, noting the recurrence in infections in some locations from existing clusters.

He thus had made several appeals to the Ministry of Health and State Health Department to declare emerging clusters in a timely manner and soonest possible as information is important to the public during this pandemic.

Dr Sim, who is also State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor, reminded the community who have started showing even the slightest symptoms or have been exposed to seek treatment immediately by visiting the nearest public health clinics.

“Early treatment not only saves lives but (also) stops transmission,” he added.

Dr Sim once again called on the community to practice self-control and play their roles seriously by adhering to all circuit breaker restrictions and standard operating procedures (SOP) under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) that has been extended to June 7 in Sarawak.

“Take public health measures with crowd control and limit any gatherings either with extended family, social, work and schools.

“Keep your mask on at all times during indoor activities,” he advised.

Noting the substantial increase in Covid-19 vaccine supplies coming into the country in due time, he urged people to register for vaccination and receive their Covid-19 jabs so that they can be protected, instead of blindly believing in incorrect information related to vaccines being spread around.

“Rumours and fake news not only don’t save you from Covid-19 but may get you killed by Covid-19,” he said. — DayakDaily