By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Dec 28: Covid-19 positive cases from illegal immigrants (PATI) pose a big threat to Sarawak and it has to be controlled.
State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this when he revealed that out of 38 Import-A Covid-19 cases which are infections from outside of Malaysia, 15 are categorised as PATI.
This is the total calculation since Phase Two of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) on Sept 1.
Fifteen of these illegal immigrants were reported in Kuching (six cases), Sibu (four cases), Asajaya (two cases) and one case each in Lubok Antu, Lundu and Tebedu.
“Therefore, like what I’ve said earlier, Operation Jala will be launched in a few days’ time as one of the steps to block more illegal immigrants from entering Sarawak.
“And by this, we (SDMC) hope to reduce the number of positive cases from these PATI,” he said during a Covid-19 press conference today.
Noting a few bad experiences involving PATI for the past few days where illegal immigrants who are Covid-19 positive went missing after their tests, Uggah asserted the seriousness of the matter and the huge possibilities of the spreading of this virus.
“Four positive cases in Sibu ran away before they were captured there, but can you imagine from Sibu, they must have gone on buses or other modes of transportation and there must be other passengers.
“Along the way, they must have met with other people. So, the potential of a Covid-19 spread is huge. Even yesterday, there were two positive PATI who went missing and these people are very irresponsible,” he said.
That is why, he added, drastic measures have to be taken against these illegal immigrants and also against those who facilitate their entry into the state and later unable to control their movements.
On a related issue, Uggah pointed out 80 Import-B Covid-19 cases in Sarawak which are infections from other states. A total of 37 cases were from Sabah and 43 were from Peninsular Malaysia.
“These numbers are also giving us a lot of pressure, so that is why we maintain the mandatory quarantine orders to West Malaysians who come to Sarawak, and also to Sarawakians returning from Sabah.
“This is the reason why. Can you just imagine, if we don’t quarantine them? They could have gone home, gone to the interior areas and that could cause a lot of havoc.
“So, in order not to make lives difficult for everyone, some sacrifices have to be made to help us in containing the situation in Sarawak,” said Uggah. — DayakDaily