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By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Sept 26: Sarawak will focus on conducting Covid-19 tests quickly and isolating those who have tested positive immediately as part of its efforts to reduce the number of Covid-19 infection in the State, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He explained that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has set up the National Rapid Response Task Force led by the ministry’s deputy director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Chong Chee Kheong to oversee the Covid-19 situation in the greater Klang Valley (Klang Valley, Selangor and nearby areas).
“Several lessons that we obtained from the greater Klang Valley in reducing the number of cases will also be applied in Sarawak, which is (reducing cases) through focus on conducting Covid-19 tests quickly and isolating the positive cases quickly.
“In Sarawak, we will treat the positive result from RTK antigen test kit, be it from the laboratory or self-test, as enough for us to isolate the individual and issue a home surveillance order (HSO).
“There is no need to wait for rT-PCR test (result) … we will just do RTK (test) and immediately isolate,” he said at a press conference after attending a special meeting on immunisation and pandemic management at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
He also disclosed close contacts including family members of the positive case will also be isolated and issued with HSO.
“Therefore, it is important for us to educate society that whenever they experience any symptoms related to Covid-19, they must do a self-test quickly and if the result is positive, they must isolate themselves.
“If they cannot isolate themselves at home, come forward to be isolated at Covid-19 Low Risk Treatment Centres (PKRCs) under MOH. This is the best way for us to cut the transmission (of the virus),” he added.
Khairy also disclosed that MOH will intensify virtual Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) efforts in cities such as Kuching, Miri, Bintulu and Sibu.
With virtual CACs, he explained, positive and suspected Covid-19 cases will be given digital HSOs and can stay at home without needing to go to a physical CAC.
He also said those who violate the digital HSO thinking that they can get away with it because they aren’t wearing any pink wristbands, will still be caught because the authorities can track their whereabouts through MySejahtera.
“When you are given the HSO, your (MySejahtera) status is red. When you check-in into a restaurant, we will be able to track you and we will give the details to the police. Therefore, we hope the compliance for digital HSO will also be high,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister-cum-State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas disclosed that several issues related to the Covid-19 situation in the State was relayed to Khairy and his delegation during the meeting.
“We have brought up several issues and most of them have been settled. I am confident that with the cooperation between the federal and State governments, Sarawak will be able to continue with the efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in the State.
“However, our people must play their respective roles and ensure that they and their families are protected from Covid-19. The people must follow the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) not because they are scared of being fined but they must value their own health.
“To those residing in the interior areas, we advise them to not hesitate to immediately seek medical advice if they develop any symptoms,” he said.
Also present during the press conference were Deputy Health Minister II, Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang; State Local Government and Housing (MLGH) Minister-cum-SDMC advisor Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian; State Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; State MLGH Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee; MOH director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah; MOH secretary-general Dato Mohd Shafiq Abdullah; State Deputy Secretary (Rural Transformation) Datu Ik Pahon Joyik; and State Health Director Dato Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed. — DayakDaily