Making face masks mandatory in schools to be discussed once Health Ministry makes decision, says SDMC chairman

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, April 26: Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas clarifies that the region will wait for the Health Ministry to make face masks mandatory in schools before making a decision.

Uggah, who is also the Deputy Premier of Sarawak, stated that SDMC will meet to discuss the issue once the Health Ministry has reached a decision.

“We must assess our situation. Currently, our number (of Covid-19 cases) is still manageable, low, and we hope it will remain so,” he told reporters when met at Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house, which was held today at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Sarawak in Petra Jaya, Kuching.

Additionally, he advised the general public not to treat a flu as a typical flu because it may be Covid-19.

“My advise to the public is to go to the hospital or clinic as soon as possible if you have the flu or a fever. Do not treat it as if it were the common flu.

“It could be Covid-19. And now we have the medicine Paxlovid, which is available for free to those who are entitled as certain criteria must be met,” he added.

Uggah also advised everyone to mask up and maintain their personal hygiene practices.

Meanwhile, six Covid-19 positive cases caused by the new XBB1.16 variant (Arcturus) were reported in Sarawak on April 20.

According to a national daily, the Health Ninistry will suggest mandating face masks in schools to prevent an increase in Covid-19 cases brought on by the spread of the Arcturus variant.

Prior to the reopening of schools on May 2, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa will hold an emergency meeting with her Education Ministry counterpart, Fadhlina Sidek.

As a precautionary measure, Zaliha stated that any new guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for students will be issued before school resumes. — DayakDaily