SIBU: Although only 20 positive cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Sarawak so far, the people have been urged to cooperate by adhering to Health Ministry guidelines to contain the spread of the disease.
To this end, the State Disaster Relief Management Committee has issued an urgent directive cancelling all events organised by the Sarawak government that involve public gatherings.
“Any government event involving more than 50 people at a time is cancelled with immediate effect.
“This is due to the surge in Covid-19 infections being experienced in the state now, ” said the committee in a press statement.
The directive has been forwarded to every department and state agency throughout Sarawak.
Bernama quoted Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas as saying that if the disease continued to spread, the fear was that there would not be enough hospital beds for patients.
“This is very worrying for us. That is why we have issued a guideline. My appeal to the public is to observe the guideline, ” he told reporters after visiting the Kemuyang Youth Camp, about 21km from here.
He said based on information gleaned from cases in other countries, the committee believed the policy of isolation and minimising contact was effective in stopping the spread of the disease.
Uggah, who is also Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman, said there were four designated hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients in the state, namely the Sarawak General Hospital, and the Sibu, Bintulu and Miri hospitals, while other hospitals could not treat those infected with the virus due to insufficient personnel and equipment.
If the designated hospitals could not cope up with the cases, patients with other medical problems would have to be moved to these non-designated hospitals or even to private hospitals, he said.
“We had a discussion with the private hospitals to see how they can assist in the event that we need to move non-Covid-19 patients, ” he said, adding that all private hospitals in Sarawak had been told to get their personnel and equipment ready.
On the Kemuyang Youth camp site, Uggah said it had been found suitable to be turned into a Covid-19 quarantine centre, after the three to be set up in Bintulu, Miri and Kuching.
“After examining the place we have decided it can be used for that purpose.
“There are 10 rooms that are sufficient for the time being.
“At the same time I am asking the Sibu (disaster management) team to look for other places in case we need more space, ” he added.
Accompanying Uggah during the visit were Deputy Health Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang and Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
In keeping with the guidelines, the Catholic church in Kuching also cancelled its Sunday masses.
The cancellation was ordered by head of the Kuching Catholic church Archbishop Simon Poh.
Sarawak have seen drastic surge in Covid-19 cases since Friday, with Sarikei MP Wong Ling Biu among those suspected of coming down with the virus.