Uggah: Travel restrictions still in place for travellers from Labuan, as precaution against Covid-19 variants

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, July 9: Existing travel restriction on Labuan visitors will continue to be imposed as a measure to prevent the importat of any Covid-19 variant cases, including the Delta variant, into Sarawak.

This was announced by State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today at a press conference on the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak.

“We have also been informed that at this stage, we don’t allow those from Labuan coming to Sarawak. They need to apply for entrance into Sarawak,” said Uggah.

Describing keeping all Covid-19 variants including Delta variant at bay as “a big challenge”, Uggah said the other measure was to impose 14-day compulsory quarantine for those entering Sarawak.

Acknowledging that there are many ways to enter Sarawak — through land, sea and air —Uggah thus urged security offices at all entry points to be alert, especially those stationed along the Sarawak-Indonesia long border, which Uggah said is another source of possible entry of Covid-19 variants.

“We are trying our very best to see how we can control the variants (from entering into Sarawak),” said Uggah.

The government may try to its best to keep all Covid-19 variants at bay, the most effective measure, to Uggah is still the part played by Sarawakians as a whole.

“Sarawak people themselves must follow (the guidelines under) the Movement Control Order (MCO), practicing healthy habits, keep social distancing, avoid gatherings because all the cases and clusters arise due to funerals, get-togethers which are not permitted. So we appeal to the people to play their parts,” said Uggah.

Uggah who is also Deputy Chief Minister expressed relief to hear the reports from the new Sarawak Health Director Dato Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed that Covid-19 cases in Sarawak is on the decline.

To Uggah, that may have been due to MCO imposed and the mass vaccination, but he was very sure that “it is also the effect of people playing their parts to make sure that they are healthy, their families are healthy and all people are healthy”.

The first Covid-19 positive case involving the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) has been detected in Sarawak. A 56-year-old man from Kuching was detected to have the variant on June 18, 2021.

A statement from the Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) of the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) revealed that besides this variant, positive cases involving the Beta (B.1.351) and the Theta (P.3) variants have also been detected.

Of all the variants, the Delta variant has been described as “Covid-19 on steroids”. It is responsible the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom which is known for its two-thirds population vaccinated.

The variant has also swept through the United States, accounting for one every five Covid-19 cases. — DayakDaily