Surge of local Covid-19 cases cause for worry: Uggah

Uggah addressing the media during a press conference on the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak today (July 6, 2020). Photo credit: Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 14: The emergence of five new Covid-19 infections in the past week due to local or limited community transmission have become a cause for worry that a second wave of outbreak could hit Sarawak.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas pointed out that a new Covid-19 cluster detected in Kuching dubbed the ‘Kuching Engineering Cluster’ indicated that the threat of local spread in the community exists.

“Prior to that, (Sarawak went for) 11 consecutive days without positive cases and that Kuching even turned to green zone but was reverted to yellow following the detection of new cases.

“As we note that the local transmission is confined to Kuching while other divisions and districts remained green, we hope they will maintain the status as a few measures have been taken to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said in a telephone interview by SarawakFM today.

The Deputy Chief Minister also stressed that contact tracing to identify and inform people to undergo screening in order to pick up any positive cases was also a challenge.

“We need to identify the cases and places which have been visited so that we know which areas transmission is limited to,” he explained.

Uggah thus appealed to the public not to grow complacent but stay vigilant by putting on face masks properly as well as taking standard operating procedure (SOP), social distancing and personal hygiene seriously in all social and economic activities.

“We hope Sarawakians will continue to be vigilant as there is still a danger of new flare-ups of the virus especially in Kuching,” he said.

The biggest challenge faced in managing the crisis, he shared, remained in ensuring public compliance with SOP and guidelines especially now that most if not all activities have been allowed to resume in Sarawak including allowing gathering of 250 people.

“Without realising it, people would let their guard down as they think it is safe to go back to normal life post Covid-19 as the situation has improved.

“We observed a few days ago that there were certain parties who were irresponsible and did not comply with the SOP. The public must realise that complying with SOP is not because we fear the law but to protect ourselves, our families and others around us.

“With this mentality, I believe efforts to curb Covid-19 transmission can be successful like had been done in the first phase,” he added.

Uggah emphasised that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will work hard to organise programmes as well as infrastructures needed to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak.—DayakDaily