Sibu residents urged to stay home to contain infection

Dr Nanthakumar says Sibu hospital has temporarily disallowed visitors from visiting patients effective Jan 9.

Residents in Sibu are urged not to leave their homes for the next 10 days unless absolutely necessary after 37 new positive Covid-19 cases were detected on Jan 8 from the Pasai cluster.

The patients, from Rumah Langi in Pasai Siong, were infected by a woman who arrived from Johor to attend her father’s funeral on Dec 29.

“Please just stay at home and don’t go out unnecessarily, ” said Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee at a joint-press conference with Sibu Disaster Management Committee chairman Charles Siaw.

Dr Annuar was speaking via video conference as he is undergoing a 14-day quarantine at a hotel.

He said although Sibu was not under lockdown, residents must take extra precaution to prevent themselves from contracting the virus.

“Stay away from Covid-19 areas and don’t go out unnecessarily, ” he said, adding that eight longhouses in Pasai Siong were sealed by the police for 14 days from Jan 8.

The longhouses are Rumah Langi Ambau, Rumah Jelian Nayor, Rumah Ringgit Unchu, Rumah Pom Maja, Rumah Jeram Empin, Rumah Kely Chundau and Rumah Nyambong Ajon.

“For now, there will be no more quarantine at home.

“Those who come in contact with Covid-19 patients will be housed at designated quarantine centres, ” he said, adding that currently there were enough rooms at the designated quarantine centres at two hotels, Kolej Laila Taib, Kemuyang Youth Camp, and Sibu Diocesan Pastoral Centre.

Dr Annuar said if the number of Covid-19 cases increased drastically, the state government might have to halt flights coming into Sibu.

So far, all flights from Johor Baru and Kota Kinabalu to Sibu had been cancelled from Jan 10.

Siaw said he had withdrawn all approvals given previously for public events in Sibu in view of the high number of Covid-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Sibu Hospital announced that effective Jan 9, visitors were not allowed and only a guardian for each patient would be allowed for the coming weeks.

Hospital director Dr Nanthakumar Thirunavukkarasu said measures to prevent the hospital from becoming another Covid-19 cluster had to be implemented.

“We are not allowing visitors to the hospital currently. Only one ‘penjaga’ (guardian) will be allowed to look after a sick patient, ” he said, adding that the hospital would only attend to semi-emergency and emergency cases as it needed to mobile all medical staff to manage Covid-19 patients.

“Please understand when your appointment has to be rescheduled, ” he said, adding that leave for all hospital staff was frozen and those who were on leave were recalled to work.

The hospital has also temporarily stopped taking nursing students on clinical attachment.

Dr Nanthakumar added that if the number of Covid-19 cases continued to rise, new patients would be sent to government hospitals in Sarikei and Kanowit.

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