Uggah: Sarawak cannot be in lockdown forever, plans on transition into endemic phase underway

All state lawmakers attending a special briefing session on Covid-19 situation in Sarawak by SDMC.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 8: Sarawak cannot continue with lockdown indefinitely, as the Sarawak State Health Department is in the midst of planning on shifting gears into the endemic phase for the State to live with the virus, as now nearly 90 per cent of its adult population has been fully vaccinated.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas emphasised that since the beginning of the pandemic, Sarawak has fought hard to push for its Covid-19 vaccination programme as it believes that it is the key to fighting the virus and to allow lives to go on. 

“Actually, the State Health Department director (Datuk Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed) is now planning how to move Sarawak into the epidemic phase. There is a timeline (for the shift). 

“We cannot continue to be in lockdown forever as scientists and (health) experts begin to get a better understanding on how to handle the virus,” he told reporters at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex today. 

He was met after a special briefing on the current Covid-19 situation in Sarawak conducted by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) for all State lawmakers. 

“Moreover, we (Sarawak) are the first to roll out vaccines for teens aged 12 to 17,” he added. 

As of yesterday (Sept 7), a total of 1,857,974 people or 91 per cent of the adult population in Sarawak has received at least one dose of the vaccines, while 1,793,279 people or 87.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated. 

Though the Delta variant has driven up the number of positive cases in Sarawak, Uggah however emphasised that most of the cases are classified as Category 1 and 2 cases, with none or mild symptoms which will in turn reduce the number of deaths and hospital admissions so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system. 

“The Delta variant has caused a surge of cases in a lot of countries including Israel which also has a high vaccination rate among its adult population. The Delta variant is very contagious.

“Sarawak is fortunate to achieve a high vaccination rate and although it will not stop Covid-19 transmission, but it can reduce the severity of illnesses which in turn will reduce the number of fatalities as well as hospitalisation,” he elaborated. 

Cases under Category 3 (with pneumonia), Category 4 (with pneumonia and requiring oxygen aid) and Category 5 (pneumonia and requiring ventilator support) can be fatal and life altering. 

At today’s special briefing, Uggah expressed he was satisfied as it was informative to provide all lawmakers with a better understanding of the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak as well as the government’s strategies, measures, policies and the way to move forward in the post-pandemic era. 

“The presence and engagement of all ADUNs (State elected representatives) including the Opposition show that they are seriously concerned and looking after the interests of the people of Sarawak. 

“That’s why we have called on everyone to work together because this is our war together against Covid-19 and to win, we all need to work and collaborate together,” he added. — DayakDaily