KUCHING: Sarawak will enforce tighter restrictions on inter-zone movement from Monday (April 19) in view of the current spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, says Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
The Deputy Chief Minister said police had been instructed to issue inter-zone travel permits only to those listed in the approved essential services categories.
He said the approved categories were public transport, transport of food and daily necessities, and emergency services.
"Previously, the definition of essential services was very wide and confusing. Now we have come up with a clearer definition," he said at the state disaster management committee's briefing here on Friday (April 16).
Uggah said data from the committee showed that 505 Covid-19 cases and eight clusters recorded since January this year were caused by inter-zone travel.
As such, he said, there was a need to tighten the conditions for movement across zones.
Sarawak reported a record high of 960 new Covid-19 cases in a day on Friday, which is highest in the nation.
Kuching district recorded the most cases with 370, of which 313 were from the Jalan Puncak Borneo cluster involving the police training centre (Pulapol).
This was followed by Mukah with 103 cases, including 99 from the Jalan Bambangan cluster involving Mukah Polytechnic.
Of the 960 cases, Uggah said only 60 showed symptoms of Covid-19.
He said 452 were close contacts of Covid-19 patients and 440 were detected from screening of active clusters.
There were also three imported cases involving individuals returning from Indonesia and one case involving an individual returning from another state.
With the spike in cases, Uggah appealed to Sarawakians to continue complying with standard operating procedures (SOP) and remain vigilant.
He said the committee would not hesitate to take action against those found to have breached SOP.
"For example, today a school principal in Miri was compounded for not wearing a mask and organising a gotong royong. We have also issued a compound to a police station in Miri for breaching SOP.
"The spread happens because people continue to ignore SOP," he said.