KUCHING, Feb 10: Sarawak government has imposed a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine on all individuals who have recently travelled to Singapore.
The State Disaster Management Committee said the self-quarantine ruling takes effect immediately, in its effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
“This was made in view of the latest development in Singapore, where the island republic’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) had issued an Orange warning level over the spread of the disease,” Sarawak deputy chief minister and committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said in a statement.
Earlier, he chaired a meeting with representatives from the health, immigration, tourism and foreign ministries, as well as the police and other relevant department and agencies.
According to DORSCON, the Orange level is second highest and indicates that the disease is “severe and spread easily from person to person”. However, the disease has not spread widely in Singapore and is being contained.
Uggah said the occurrence of the novel coronavirus clusters in Singapore, which occurred from a church, a medical product shop and a hotel after an international conference, were deemed as “worrying”.
“The victims ranges from church goers to taxi drivers, private hire drivers, tour guide and teacher. They have not been to China but were affected in these places,” Uggah said, adding that Singapore has recorded a total of 43 cases to date.
He added that the committee will hold an engagement with various churches, temples, mosques, Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), taxi association, hotel association and bus associations to get their cooperation in fighting against the deadly disease, particularly in preventing the spread.
Sarawak is still free of the novel coronavirus and Uggah has appealed to all to give their unbridled support and cooperation.
The committee will meet every Monday to discuss on the disease, further development and to come up with the state strategic preparedness and action plans.
Between Jan 10 to Feb 9, Sarawak has recorded 60 Patient Under Investigation (PUI) cases.
“We have 43 negative cases and 17 more are pending laboratory testing. Out of the 43 cases, 15 involved Malaysians, which were recorded at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), eight at Sibu Hospital, seven in Miri and four in Bintulu.
“As for Chinese nationals, we have recorded four at SGH, two each in Sibu and Bintulu. One Thai national was recorded at SGH,” Uggah said.
As for the 17 pending cases, 11 of them involved Malaysians, five Chinese and one Thai.
Meanwhile, the State Health Department has advised all individuals who are unwell to avoid attending any gathering, meeting, conference or religious events.
“Anyone who is ill during any event must leave immediately and seek appropriate medical treatment, while those under home surveillance or quarantine should not attend any of such function or event. Please remain at home and minimise your time in public places,” the department said.
Members of the public are advised to remain vigilant and practise good personal hygiene such as washing their hands regularly, avoid shaking hands or have physical contact with other participants and consider adopting alternative greetings.
The department also suggested that in organising any event, the organisers or the secretariat must be responsible in taking the following necessary precautionary measures; all participants with respiratory symptoms be given face masks prior to coming in, deny entry to unwell individual, provide hand sanitiser at pre and post entrance into the facility or meeting room.
They are advised to carry out temperature screening if possible, must increase the frequency of cleaning at all common used areas such as washrooms, dining areas, registration and payment counters.
Is is also compulsory to maintain a registration list of all participants.
As for the Immigration department counters, staff must conduct frequent cleaning and wiping of their thumbprint machines.
For the public transport sector, the department advised that buses, taxis and all other vehicle be frequently cleaned with detergent or spray.
In schools, the department recommended temperature check to be done prior to entry into schools and classes, while students with history travel to China and other risk countries should be deferred from schooling for 14 days. — DayakDaily