Sarawak grapples with grim Covid-19 situation as stubborn daily numbers show no sign of dropping

Dr Chin Zin Hing

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 16: The Covid-19 pandemic situation in Sarawak is worrying as the Covid-19 R-naught rate (R value) for daily coronavirus cases remained high with the value of 0.95 on Saturday (May 15).

State Health Director Dr Chin Zin Hing said with the total number of daily cases still not showing a downward trend, the members of the public are advised to not be complacent in complying with standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

“The first discovery of the Covid-19 mutation virus originating from India, namely B.1.517.2, was reported in Malaysia on May 2.

“If this variant enters Sarawak, it will be able to paralyse health services in Sarawak quickly,” he emphasised in a statement today.

Dr Chin further explained that since Feb 13 this year, Sarawak has recorded over 100 positive cases daily.

In fact, he said the number of deaths due to Covid-19 also showed an increase since February. In the past two weeks, the number of reported deaths due to Covid-19 was 27 cases a week.

He also said mass gatherings during weddings, birthday parties and social activities like ‘gotong-royong’ accounted for most of Sarawak’s Covid-19 active clusters to date.

These sorts of social gatherings, he said, could have been prevented. However, that does not seems to be the case as there are 81 active clusters throughout the State at present compared to only 16 clusters during mid-February this year.

In addition, there are also clusters centred on workplaces, funerals, longhouses and educational institutions due to failure to comply with existing SOPs.

“Today, a total of 71 Covid-19 cases are still in critical condition in ICU wards including 26 cases requiring respiratory assistance.

“Meanwhile, the capacity of ICU beds in Sarawak is also at a critical level, especially in Sibu Hospital and Kapit Hospital.

“For information, so far, only government hospitals in Sarawak can only provide care services for critically ill patients due to Covid-19 infection,” he elaborated.

Following that, Dr Chin, on behalf of the State Health Department, expressed its strong support over SDMC’s to extend the implementation period of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Sarawak.

“Every Sarawakian is advised to continue to abide by the SOPs that have been set in an effort to curb the Covid-19 pandemic and protect every Sarawakian life,” he said. — DayakDaily