Lab test for two suspected coronavirus cases still pending in S'wak

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020

KUCHING: Six out of eight suspected novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases in Sarawak have tested negative, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah (pic).

He said two other patients, currently quarantined at Sarawak General Hospital and Miri Hospital, were waiting for lab test results.

"We hope the two results will also be negative. That means Sarawak up to now is still free from the virus," he told reporters after chairing a state disaster management committee meeting on dealing with the coronavirus here on Wednesday (Jan 29).

Of the eight suspected cases, Uggah said five were in Kuching, comprising three locals, one Thai and a Chinese national.

There were also one Chinese national each in Sibu and Bintulu and one local in Miri, who recently visited China, he said.

As part of measures to tackle the virus, Uggah said the state government was buying a rapid blood test kit to speed up the verification of suspected cases.

He said test samples were currently sent to the Institute for Medical Research in Kuala Lumpur, with the results available in 36 to 48 hours.

"Once we have our own kit, the time can be shortened and samples from other parts of the state can be sent to Kuching for testing," he said.

Uggah also said the state government would purchase two thermal scanners to be placed at the Sibu and Bintulu airports, which do not have the equipment.

He said the scanners would be available within one to two weeks' time and would be operational immediately.

In addition, he said the state was coming up with a self-declaration form for all passengers entering Sarawak to declare where they had travelled to in the past 14 days.

The form will be checked by immigration officials at all entry points into the state, he said.

He also advised those coming back from China, including employees and students, to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.

"We are communicating with employers and schools to allow them to have 14 days' leave.

"Employers should be responsible because this is a very contagious disease. We need everyone to cooperate. Sometimes there is disruption and inconvenience, but short sacrifice will have a long-term result to protect all Sarawakians," Uggah said.

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