Frontliners sacrifice Gawai eve to collect record 2,258 Covid-19 samples to safeguard community

Medical personnel working around the clock to sort and collect Covid-19 test samples in this file photo.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 1: The Covid-19 One Stop Centre (OSC) conducted 2,258 swab tests yesterday, the highest number in a day and an experience which stretched healthcare frontliners to the limit on the eve of the Gawai Dayak festival.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian emphasised that healthcare workers stayed on the frontlines and spent their Gawai holidays fighting Covid-19.

“In March last year, we did 500 PCR (tests) in SGH (Sarawak General Hospital) per day.

“No words and thanks can ever be enough to acknowledge and recognise the dedication, sacrifice and professionalism of the medical frontliners at the Covid-19 OSC in MBKS Community Hall here.

“(They worked) till almost midnight on Gawai eve. Some had to miss out spending time with their families just to save another Sarawakian from Covid-19,” he shared via a Facebook post today.

Even though healthcare workers were given breaks to prevent extreme exhaustion, burnout and collapse, Dr Sim noted that Sarawak and most of the countries in the world do not have an abundance of nurses and doctors who can be called up to attend to a large number of Covid-19 patients round the clock.

Even today on the first day of Gawai holidays, Dr Sim, who is also the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor, pointed out that the State health authorities, staff from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and over 70 volunteers from multiple departments and agencies are working against the clock to get the Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC) at the university’s College Rafflesia ready.

Workers and volunteers working during the Gawai holidays to set up a PKRC at Unimas’ Rafflesia College.
Volunteers and Unimas staff helping to make beds at the PKRC.

“Yesterday, we were rushing to get the premises at CIDB in Petra Jaya ready to serve as PKRC in view of the surge of Covid-19 in Kuching.

“Though we are all trying our personal best, there is a limit of how much we can stretch not only in terms of manpower but also resources and especially the healthcare system,” he added.

Hence, Dr Sim reiterated that the least people can do is to play their part by staying home as much as possible and adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines issued by the authorities to protect themselves, their loved ones and the community as a whole.

“Let’s focus and prioritise our lives in these two to four weeks to save the lives of our families, friends and Sarawak,” he urged. — DayakDaily