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By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, July 3: More than 100 Penans have been infected with the Covid-19 virus, with two ensuing deaths to date.
Disclosing the worrying figures, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said so far they have brought more than 200 people from various villages such as Long Win, Long Kevok, Long Latik, Long Luteng, Long Tepen, Long Lunyem and some others to Miri for quarantine purposes.
He acknowledged that last week, there were those who had refused to be brought down to quarantine centres in Miri, after being identified as close contacts or testing positive for Covid-19 after mass screening.
Dennis explained that after much persuasion, these people finally agreed to being quarantined away from their homes.
Thanking those who listened and finally agreed to be brought to Miri for quarantine, he asserted that this has to be done to stop the spread of the the deadly virus.
Responding to a few cases where Penan villagers had reportedly fled their homes as they refused to be swabbed and were afraid of modern medicine, Dennis pleaded for them not to do so.
“Please do not be afraid. You must understand that this is the only means to detect positive cases. Some of you may not show symptoms or worse, believe that it is just a common illness, as you continue to roam around the the village.
“What will happen after that? The figures will likely increase from hundreds to thousands. You will infect your family and the rest of your community.
“Are you willing to see your parents, husband, wife or children suffer from the disease? Or worse, if their bodies are not strong, they will die. When a person is a carrier and has no symptoms, he or she will most likely infect those living under the same roof,” he explained.
Yesterday, villagers from Long Iman had fled their homes upon realising medical officers were there to conduct swab tests.
In the end, the medical officers returned to Mulu without any samples to conduct their laboratory tests.
“Please understand, these medical officers who showed up in your village have no ill intentions to just simply poke your nose and throat. They only want to ensure that all of you are clean and test negative for the virus.
“We have had runaway cases, with some fleeing into the jungle. In the end, some 100 Penans from various villages tested positive for Covid-19 and two deaths were recorded. Is that what you want?” he questioned.
Dennis urged the Penans to work together and cooperate with the Health Department and Sarawak government to ensure the safety of their respective communities and families. — DayakDaily