Rural healthcare facilities being upgraded to handle Covid-19 testing

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 19: Rural healthcare facilities in Sarawak are currently being upgraded to handle taking swabs for Covid-19 testing and to conduct testing using Rapid Test Kits (RTKs).

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas emphasised that this decision was implemented by the State Health Department considering that over 5,000 students from Peninsular Malaysia, Labuan and Sabah have returned to Sarawak and returned to their hometowns, including in rural areas.

“We want to make sure any (Covid-19) incidents will be captured as earlier as possible,” he told a press conference on the Covid-19 situation in the state here today.

As of today (May 19), Sarawak has coordinated the return of 7,446 students from Peninsular Malaysia, Labuan and Sabah.


On labs equipped to conduct tests, Uggah pointed out that Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas)’s lab will restart work tomorrow (May 20) apart from Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), Sibu Hospital, Bintulu Hospital (which is currently installing the facility) and Miri Hospital.

“One specialist said fighting Covid-19 is like fighting fire on peat soil. We must douse the flames upon detection so that it won’t spread.

“As such, the casual contact tracing team has been instructed to look at the capacity of contact tracing teams in all divisions,” he added.

Uggah emphasised that these initiatives were implemented in preparation of a possible second wave.

“The SDMC is learning from the experiences as well as mistakes of other countries to better prepare Sarawak for an eventual outcome of a second wave,” he added.

However, if Sarawakians continue to adhere to guidelines and collaborate with the government, Uggah said that Sarawak can concentrate on ways to sustain economic activities instead. — DayakDaily