SDMC refutes allegations of lax contact tracing for Sabah Covid-19 patient

Covid-19 file pic

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KUCHING, Sept 22: The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) views seriously allegations on social media questioning the credibility of the committee in managing Covid-19 in Sarawak.

According to SDMC, a netizen had uploaded a post on a Sarawak Covid-19 Facebook group on Sept 18, accusing the Bintulu Division Health Office of not conducting close contact tracing for a Covid-19 case who was detected in Sandakan, Sabah on Sept 15 and entered Sarawak on Sept 11.

The case was reported to have journeyed into Sarawak by land through Lawas, passing through Limbang Division, Brunei, and Miri Division, spending a night in Bintulu town before proceeding to Belaga on Sept 12.

The netizen has questioned as to why the State Health Department did not register the case in Sarawak, and also questioned the credibility of the department in handling the case.

SDMC in a statement today emphasised that the State Health Department had taken all necessary measures to identify all close contacts of the case.

It explained that the patient was registered in Sandakan, Sabah where he was initially screened even though the he is receiving treatment in Bintulu Hospital.

Moreover, it had been agreed by the Ministry of Health and Sabah Health Department to have the case registered under Sabah where the case was originally screened.

SDMC also reiterated that information about the case had been revealed via earlier statements on Sept 17 and 18.

The State Health Department through the Bintulu Division Health Office, it added, had acted immediately upon receiving information regarding the rT-PCR swab test result of the case from the Sandakan Area Health Office, Sabah on Sept 15.

Covid-19 screening, SDMC emphasised, had been conducted on all contacts which have been identified and traced including officers at entry points who could have been exposed in the course of their duties.

Contact tracing has also been carried out at all premises the patient had visited including an eatery of a rest area in Miri and the hotel he had stayed in Bintulu.

The State Health Department through ‘Focal Point’ of Malaysia Health Ministry had also informed the Brunei Health Department about the case.

In Belaga, SDMC revealed, the Kapit Division Health Office had conducted screening on all factory and plantation workers who came into close contact with the patient.

In addition, as the patient had also visited Mukah on Sept 13, the Mukah Division Health Department had also carried out contact tracing activities at all locations the patient had visited.

In total, SDMC revealed, 87 close contacts of the patient, either directly or indirectly, have been traced and screened in Lawas (3), Miri (18), Bintulu (13), Belaga (48) and Mukah (5).

All contacts have undergone the first swab and as of today, all the rT-PCR swab tests have returned negative. The second swab test will be done on the 10th day for all contacts who have been instructed to observe 14-day quarantines.

SDMC also took this opportunity to thank all contacts who have rendered their full cooperation to all agencies involved. — DayakDaily