No ill patients at Long Lamai as claimed by viral message

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By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, June 4: Medical officers who flew into an interior Penan village in Long Lamai, Baram had to persuade its villagers with various methods to take Covid-19 screening test, yesterday.

Miri Disaster Management Committee (JPBB) in a statement disclosed that in the end, they managed to take eight swabs.

On June 2, JPBB Miri was informed of viral messages that many of the Penan villagers in Long Lamai are ill and showing Covid-19 symptoms.

That prompted JPBB Miri to send a team of officers from Health Ministry (MOH), with the help and courtesy of Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia to conduct a ‘mercy flight’ to the location yesterday.

“Based on our investigation conducted when interviewing the village head and residents, they said they did not know of any ill person and that there were no such thing happening in the Long Lamai locality. Examinations made during house visit also did not reveal anyone with symptoms or illness.

“The investigation team also found many villagers were away from their home because they had gone to their respective farms in the jungle to carry out their usual planting or harvesting activities.

“A total of eight swabs were successfully taken after various persuasion and urging with the help of village head and their pastor,” the statement said.

Another aerial view of Long Lamai, an interior Penan village in Baram.

Yesterday the medical team departed Miri 9.17am, bringing with them all the needed PCR test kits and safely arrived Long Lamai at 10.27am.

They began their surveillance and investigation immediately upon landing, as the helicopter was scheduled to pick them up at 4pm on the same day.

The screening test was also initiated after a woman was detected and tested positive through Close Contact Detection (ACD) in Miri.

She had returned to Miri after attending her mother’s funeral in Long Lamai two weeks ago.

Close contacts from identified families have been swabbed and placed at quarantine centres in Miri, pending their laboratory results. — DayakDaily

Aerial view of Long Lamai, an interior Penan village in Baram.