Those living in Covid-19 red zones urged to forgo ‘balik kampung’ for Hari Raya, Gawai

Uggah at the daily Covid-19 media briefing. Screenshot taken from Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) broadcast.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, April 23: Those living in Covid-19 red zones have been advised against making their “balik kampung” trip for the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak celebrations.

State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said massive movement of people out from the red zones could risk spreading the coronavirus particularly to green zone districts.

He urged people to stay at their current location for the time being, until the government reviews the Covid-19 situation in the country closer to festive seasons.

“We would like to advise the people in the red zones (to refrain) from ‘balik kampung’ (going back to their hometown), as massive movement from the red zones to green zones, for example Kuching to Kapit, could risk the possibility of a spread.

“Please stay at your current location. The restriction will be revised from time to time, especially nearer Hari Raya, Gawai time,” he told the media during a briefing on the state’s daily Covid-19 situation here today.

Uggah, who is also Sarawak deputy chief minister, also advised the rural population against making trips to the red zone areas.

“For the time being, we also discourage those from the longhouses (rural areas) from going to the city, urban areas,” he said.

He added that as of today (April 23), two more districts have been declared green zones, namely Sibu and Sarikei, which were previously classified as yellow zones.

Kuching and Samarahan remained as red zones, Miri was classified as an orange zone and nine districts, namely Bau, Asajaya, Simunjan, Serian, Tebedu, Betong, Sri Aman, Bintulu and Limbang, were classified as yellow zones.

Uggah said 28 districts in Sarawak were classified as green zones, which translated to about 70 per cent.

The districts included Lundu, Lubok Antu, Saratok, Pusa, Kabong, Meradong, Julau, Pakan, Kanowit, Mukah, Matu, Dalat, Daro, Kapit, Song, Belaga, Selangau, Tatau, Sebauh, Tanjung Manis, Bukit Mabong, Subis, Beluru, Telang Usan and Lawas.

On a related note, Uggah said movement control order (MCO) compliance among the people was at 97 per cent. A total of 80 individuals were arrested for violating the MCO with 73 charged in court today.

“More Sarawakians are aware of the importance of the MCO to keep the people safe. I would like to express my gratitude to the public for complying with the MCO to flatten the Covid-19 curve,” he said.

He added that five more Sarawakians have returned to the state. In total, 1,250 individuals have been quarantined at 17 designated hotels across the state. Of the number, 395 have completed their 14-day quarantine and were allowed to return home.

Uggah said the state has 40 quarantine centres with a capacity of 2,980. There are currently 1,619 individuals placed in these centres.

“The committee is working very hard to ensure that strategies adopted (by the state) to cut the (Covid-19) chain can be effective.

“Equally important is the cooperation of the public to stay at home, maintain social distancing, personal hygiene, and keep safe. There are lots of sacrifices but this is for the good of the people and their families. We will work hard, formulate various strategies to win this war,” he continued.

Uggah said the task force will look at carrying out active case detection in areas with a high number of cases to detect potential victims as early as possible.

Meanwhile, the authorities will continue with contact tracing, which has been very effective in the past two days.

“We will notify the place and when it is (ready) to be implemented,” Uggah added. — DayakDaily