KUCHING: Sarawak reported 55 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday (Jan 9), the highest daily number since the pandemic began, bringing the state's tally to 1,251 cases.
The previous daily high was 32 cases on April 1 last year.
Of today's total, 37 are linked to the new Pasai cluster in Sibu, involving local residents aged from 11 months to 79 years old.
They were screened during an active case detection operation at a longhouse after the index case, who was asked to quarantine at the longhouse after returning from Johor, tested positive on Jan 7.
"All these cases have been admitted to Sibu Hospital for treatment. Contact tracing as well as control and prevention measures are being carried out," the committee said Saturday.
It said the Sibu divisional disaster management committee was enforcing movement control at eight affected longhouses in Sibu.
"The Health Department will carry out Covid-19 screening starting Saturday, while the police have set up a roadblock at the junction leading to the longhouses.
"Food and health facilities will be provided to the affected longhouses," it said, adding that the Sibu district was now an orange zone with 39 local transmissions in the last 14 days.
The committee also said 15 new cases were reported in Kuching, two in Miri and one in Bintulu.
Of the Kuching cases, one was linked to the Keranji Tabuan cluster and eight to the Stutong cluster.
Kuching district remained an orange zone with 36 locally transmitted cases in the last 14 days, while Samarahan, Miri, Bintulu, Meradong, Bukit Mabong and Sri Aman were yellow zones with a total of 17 local transmissions.
Orange zones are districts with 21 to 40 locally transmitted cases in the last 14 days, yellow zones one to 20 cases and green zones with zero cases.
Districts with 41 or more local transmissions are classified as red zones.
Meanwhile, Sarawak health director Dr Chin Zin Hing warned that the state's healthcare system would be overburdened if the current spread of Covid-19 was not curbed.
He said the state was facing an increasing number of cases and Kuching was likely to turn into a red zone soon while other districts had turned yellow or orange.
"If we are not careful, our healthcare system will be overwhelmed, just like what is happening in Peninsular Malaysia now. We don't want this to happen in Sarawak," he said Saturday.
Dr Chin said the current cases showed that Covid-19 was spreading in the community, with previously spared districts like Sri Aman, Betong, Kapit and Lawas also affected now.
"Those working in the community bring Covid-19 into their family. In addition, friends are infecting one another through social gatherings," he said.
Dr Chin urged the public to strictly comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs), including physical distancing, and to postpone unnecessary face-to-face meetings or travel at this time.
He also advised those feeling unwell to go for a Covid-19 test and self-isolate at home.