Illegal workers potential Achilles heel as Sarawak seeks to keep Covid-19 out

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Oct 15: The two illegal immigrants who tested positive for Covid-19 today entered the state through the Lundu border, evaded mandatory quarantine and had visited a few places in Kuching city.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas strongly condemned the actions of irresponsible parties who attempt to smuggle foreign workers into Sarawak.

“This is a worrying development as the cases did not undergo Covid-19 screening before entering, compulsory 14-day quarantines upon arrival and visited a few places in the Kuching city.

“These two measures (screening and quarantine) are so important and which is why they have been imposed to ensure that those who enter Sarawak are healthy,” he told a press conference on the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak today.

Uggah, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, revealed that an operation conducted today to monitor and investigate the number of illegal immigrants who managed to cross the border, found five individuals at one location in Kuching city.

“Maybe they are others who have entered and are scattered around Kuching. They have the possibility of becoming the source of infections,” he added, slammed such actions as irresponsible.

He thus called on the public to become the eyes and ears of the government by reporting any suspicious characters to the relevant authorities such as the police and Immigration Department.

Uggah pointed out that most positive cases confirmed in Sarawak in the past few weeks were detected from screening tests performed on the 10th day of quarantine.

“That is the reason we imposed mandatory quarantine before they are being allowed to go back and socialise in the community,” he added.

Meanwhile, Uggah yesterday announced the tightening of movement controls along the borders with Sabah and Kalimantan, Indonesia given the spike in Covid-19 cases especially in Sabah.

More security personnel will be deployed to enhance the current manpower in monitoring and controlling cross-border movement in Merapok and Sidumin, including illegal routes. — DayakDaily