Covid-19: Sarawak sees rise in cases in last four weeks

KUCHING: Despite an overall decline in Covid-19 cases this year, the disease has shown an increasing trend in the last four weeks in Sarawak, the state legislative assembly was told.

Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said 7,999 cases were reported from August to November compared to 46,668 cases from January to March.

He however said 1,046 cases were reported in epidemic week 47 (Nov 20-26).

This is an increase from 814 cases, 616 cases and 459 cases in the previous three weeks respectively.

Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian with his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly on Wednesday (Nov 30). - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian with his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly on Wednesday (Nov 30). - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star

Similarly, he said the intensive care unit (ICU) utilisation rate for Covid-19 cases had risen for the same period, with 8.6% in epidemic week 44 (Oct 30-Nov 5), 13.3% in epidemic week 45 (Nov 6-12), 15.2% in epidemic week 46 (Nov 13-19) and 17.9% in epidemic week 47.

"Despite the increasing trend, the number of new cases reported and ICU utilisation rate are still much lower as compared to the situation during the first half of the year," he said in his winding-up speech on Wednesday (Nov 30).

As of Nov 26, Sarawak's tally of Covid-19 cases stands at 320,311 with 1,775 deaths since the first reported case on March 13, 2020.

Dr Sim said awareness on the importance of public health measures and the high acceptance of vaccines among Sarawakians helped to control the spread of Covid-19 in the state.

As of Nov 26, he said, 2,430,627 people or about 86% of Sarawak's population had been fully vaccinated with two doses.

This comprised 1,904,956 people aged 18 and above, 266,986 aged 12 to 17 and 258,685 aged five to 11.

In addition, Sarawak had administered the first booster dose to 1,584,620 people, comprising 73% of 2,171,942 people aged 12 and above who had completed their two primary doses.

As of Nov 26, only 51,372 Sarawakians had received the second booster dose, less than 2% of the eligible population.

"The public is strongly encouraged to take the booster dose for Covid-19 vaccination, continue to practise personal hygiene and to wear a mask in crowded areas, as the virus may still continue to mutate and spread in the community," Dr Sim said.

He also said the state government was contributing RM6.1mil towards building a 108-bed field hospital at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) here and 100-bed field hospital at Miri Hospital.

Construction commenced early this month and is expected to be completed by next February for the Miri field hospital and April for the SGH field hospital.

"These field hospitals shall be utilised to accommodate Covid-19 patients. In the future, these facilities can be expanded and be utilised as infectious disease wards or day care centres," Dr Sim said.

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