New action task forces set up to strengthen state’s strategies in tackling Covid-19

Uggah addressing a daily press conference on Covid-19.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Apr 14: Four action task forces will be formed to enhance management, responses and containment strategies for Covid-19 in Sarawak which sees the curve increasing.

The State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas informed that the committee had decided to form the action task force after taking in the views of health professionals.

The four action task forces are ‘Accelerating Flattening the Curve (Current Wave)’ to be led by Dr Jamilah Hashim, while Datuk Prof Dr Andrew Kiyu will lead the ‘Preventing and Controlling the Next Wave’ and ‘Real Time Analysis of Data on Covid-19’, and Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian will lead the ‘Preparedness Plan for the Big Wave’.

The four action task forces, whose leaders have been appointed today, will take their works up a notch to strengthen the state’s strategies in fighting the Covid-19 crisis.

“Each leaders will choose their team of expertise which will be presented to the Committee and the state government will decide the direction, action and strategy to be implemented.

“For example, whether we have sufficient hospital beds throughout Sarawak. We all have seen what’s happening in US, Italy, France, Africa. We pray it will not happen in Sarawak but we must be prepared,” he told a daily press conference on Covid-19 today.

Noting that Kuala Lumpur had set up a temporary field hospital to cater to the possibility of a surge in cases, he thus questioned if Sarawak would need to do the same and as such, advice from the action task force will help determine the level of preparedness that the state needed to take.

“This fight is unprecedented. The data is very important. The governor of New York described the fight as fighting a fire which must be doused as soon as possible when spotted to prevent it from spreading.

“We have seen how China, Singapore, and South Korea successfully overcome this disease with very up-to-date data and taking necessary actions,” he emphasised.

The ‘Accelerating Flattening the Curve’ team will oversee and decide on how to accelerate flattening the curve of Covid-19 which is increasing with focus areas include on issues related to case notification, investigation, contact tracing, active case tracing, health education and so on.

As for ‘Preventing and Controlling the Next Wave’ team, they will look into and propose the recommendations which Sarawak needed to take and prepare urgently to face and fight either a big or small wave of Covid-19 which may come.

On the Preparedness Plan for the Big Wave team, Uggah said he wanted a few health officers from the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) to be in the team including the hospital director, infectious disease specialist and laboratory head as well as pharmacists from State Health Department.

The ‘Real Time Analysis of Data on Covid-19’ team will be tasked to go through all existing Covid-19 data in Sarawak, continuously collect data, come up with proposals on analysis needed to be done and capacity building to analyse data either by the action task forces or to employ experts from outside.

“Basically, we need to know the data needed to be analysed and immediate actions to be taken based on the findings from the data.

“I want our actions to be evidence-based and we cannot deal with Covid-19 blindly,” Uggah pointed out. —DayakDaily