Up to 500 more frontliners needed to handle Covid-19 spike in Sarawak, says Dr Adham

KUCHING: Health workers from other states will be deployed to Sarawak to help contain the current surge of Covid-19 cases there, says Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (pic).

The Health Minister said the additional personnel were needed to carry out contact tracing, testing, and treatment in areas that have seen a spike in cases, in order to curb the infection.

"We estimate that we need 300 to 500 more personnel in various categories, including doctors, nurses, medical assistants, lab technicians and those carrying out rapid tests in the field.

"We will mobilise health workers from within Sarawak, whereby those in green zones can help.

"Secondly, we are in the process of arranging for the redeployment of frontliners from other states where the numbers are low," he told reporters after visiting the Covid-19 vaccination centre at the Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday (April 13).

Dr Adham also said measures would be taken to enhance the preparedness of health facilities in the state to handle any sudden surge in cases.

He noted that community and workplace clusters had emerged in Sarawak, while the infectivity rate (Rt) continued to rise.

"Today the Rt has increased to 1.1, Yesterday it was 1.08. An Rt of 1.1 means 10 people can infect 11 others.

"This is what we want to contain," he said.

Rt is an indicator of how fast Covid-19 is spreading and refers to the replication number at a particular point in time.

In addition, Dr Adham said, the ministry was looking out for any new variants of the disease in Sarawak, particularly in the oil and gas industry which involves workers from outside the state.

He also said Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be strictly enforced to curb the spread.

"There has been a lack of compliance with SOPs recently. We hope that we can suppress the infection with compliance," he said.

On the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, Dr Adham said Sarawak was well prepared and had already started using mass vaccination centres such as the Indoor Stadium.

"Sarawak has the capability to vaccinate up to 40,000 people a day, depending on the supply of vaccines," he said.

He also said the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) had decided that media personnel working on the front lines would be included in the second phase of the immunisation programme from April 19.

"In the second phase, we will vaccinate media personnel defined as those working in situations where they face risk of infection," he said.

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