By Karen Bong
KUCHING, June 9: A new cluster of Covid-19 infections involving foreign workers has been confirmed as Sarawak registered a new positive case, an Indonesian worker, today.
With this, the state’s tally of Covid-19 positive cases rises to 556 and 17 deaths.
State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas disclosed that the new case involving an Indonesian worker was detected through close contact tracing and the case was linked to a positive case reported on June 7.
“The Health Department will conduct Active Case Detection (ACD) at the construction site located at Jalan Keretapi and their accommodation in Sungai Moyan, here.
“We are very disappointed, even though there is no clear evidence, there are illegal immigrants sneaking into the state through ‘jalan tikus’ (illegal routes) because our borders remain closed as of today,” he told a daily press conference on Covid-19 here today.
In warning employers, Uggah said that the police, Immigration Department, the State Security Unit and the Health Department will carry out a serious investigation into this matter.
“The authorities will take strict action against employers suspected to have smuggled foreigners into Sarawak. We will be more aggressive in monitoring as this can be a source of new problems,” he warned.
Replying a question, Uggah explained that the state government has not made it compulsory for construction workers to undergo Covid-19 testing.
“This is because testing in our private healthcare facilities is very limited but we are looking at this closely as we note that this can become a cluster as can be seen in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore,” he said.
He however pointed out that SDMC is monitoring the SOP in place for the construction sector because in fact all sectors are required to submit their proposed guidelines and notify relevant authorities before they can be approved to resume operations.
While Sarawak still registered a single digit Covid-19 case today and the state is moving into the recovery phase, Uggah admitted that he was not comfortable for the state to be fully reopened.
“But looking at the statistics, the Covid-19 curve in Sarawak has flattened with intermittent cases. This demonstrates that we are doing the right thing in responding to the crisis and in a way cut the chain of transmission.
“We are also successful in creating awareness and public roles cannot be underestimated. Not a lot of people are out and about still; they observe social distancing, and they understand the rationale behind these restrictions,” he said.
With almost all cases in Sarawak being imported, Uggah stressed that the authorities will not be easing security measures along the borders of Sarawak.
Meanwhile, no recoveries are recorded today and as such, the total number of recovered patients in Sarawak is maintained at 525 or 94.42 per cent of total positive cases so far.
As of today, 14 patients are being treated in hospitals throughout the state with none admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICUs) or requiring respiratory support.
There are currently 13 patients treated in Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) and one in Bintulu Hospital.
Three districts in Sarawak are still labelled as Covid-19 yellow zones (40 or fewer Covid-19 cases): Kuching, Samarahan and Simunjan.
Uggah also disclosed that the state registered 62 more person-under-investigation (PUI) cases today while four cases are still awaiting laboratory test results.
“There are also 196 more persons-under-surveillance (PUS) who have been checked into identified hotels to undergo compulsory 14-day quarantines.
“As of today, there are a total of 2,060 individuals undergoing quarantine in 38 hotels across Sarawak,” he added. — DayakDaily