Sarawak bolsters Covid-19 defenses with Paxlovid stockpile, continuous variant monitoring

Dr Sim (centre) along with Dr Tay (left) and Wee bathing the Buddha to mark Wesak Day at Sarawak Buddhist Association temple on May 22, 2024.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 22: Sarawak has stocked up on Paxlovid, an oral anti-viral medication for Covid-19 and is continously monitoring for new Covid-19 variants in preparation for any surge in cases in the region.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian emphasised that Sarawak government is actively taking measures, without solely depending on the Federal government, in response to Covid-19 and ensuring the health and well-being of its people.


“We are working closely with the Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Professor Dr David Pereira, who consistently monitors the Covid-19 situation in the region.

“We have our own screening procedures, without depending solely on the Ministry of Health (MOH), to identify any new variants in Sarawak.

“Sarawak is fortunate as there are only a few centres in Malaysia with the capability and capacity to conduct monitoring through gene sequencing, rather than relying on Kuala Lumpur,” he told reporters after officiating Wesak Day celebration at Sarawak Buddhist Association temple at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak here today.

His comments were in response to Singapore experiencing a new wave of Covid-19, with rising infections over the past two weeks, prompting calls for those at greatest risk of severe disease to receive an additional vaccine dose.

The number of cases in the neighbouring republic reportedly doubled from 13,700 to 25,900 between May 5 and May 11.

Dr Sim, who is also the Minister of Public Health, Housing, and Local Government, mentioned that earlier this year, the government procured sufficient Paxlovid doses for Sarawak hospitals, despite the expiration of the MOH contract for the medication supply.

That aside, the Sarawak Health Department has a system for monitoring positive cases, including patients prescribed Paxlovid and those hospitalised.

“We will take all necessary measures to treat patients, especially those in severe condition,” he assured.

Recognising that Covid-19 is here to stay, Dr Sim noted that most of Sarawak’s population has received at least three doses of the vaccine, providing a certain degree of immunity.

“It’s not only Covid-19 that has new variants; the flu does too, which is why some people get their annual flu vaccination. It’s evolving. What’s more important is that each of us takes responsibility for our own health. Despite the lack of restrictions now, if you are sick or have Covid-19, seek treatment as early as possible,” he advised.

Kota Sentosa assemblyman Wilfred Yap, Batu Kitang assemblyman Dato Lo Khere Chiang, Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Tan Kai, Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) director Datu Jack Aman Luat, Malaysian Buddhist Association Sarawak Branch chairman Dato Sri Dr Tay Chin Kin, as well as various religious and houses of worships leaders were present. — DayakDaily