First and foremost, I must congratulate the wonderful people of Sabah who turned up in numbers to practice their constitutional right to vote in the state election. Many from far and near ensured that their vote counted – kudos and congratulations.
However, a danger awaits us after this civic exercise: the spread of Covid-19 is still rampant. We have seen the daily number of infections, especially in Sabah, go up by the day. Here are a few concerns and solutions:
1. Those travelling out of Sabah to Peninsular Malaysia or elsewhere must get a Covid-19 test done. Please ensure that you are tested before you return to you daily lives. We sincerely hope that this will be done just as sincerely as you practiced your constitutional right to vote.
2. If your test is negative, do not think that you have been let off scot-free. Remember that there may be a latent period before an exposed person is in the asymptomatic phase of having Covid-19. Please ensure that once you have had the test, return home and self quarantine for 14 days.
Remember, if at all possible, get another test after a week to ensure that you do not have Covid-19. Remember also that though symptoms of cough, runny nose and upper respiratory tract indications of fast breathing might be present in some, many people with Covid-19 are asymptomatic.
3. Quarantine yourself for 14 days – no buts ands or ifs. When you have been in a crowded and high risk area, it is a must that you quarantine yourself. Do not wait for laws to be imposed or wait to be asked to quarantine – do it yourself. Ensure that the spread of Covid-19 in Malaysia is contained and STRICTLY STAY HOME.
You could arrange to work from home, explaining that you were in Sabah and have to self-quarantine as a precaution. Show proof of travel if necessary so bosses know your situation is genuine.
And just because you are quarantined, it doesn’t mean that you can ignore preventive measures. Masking yourself, disinfecting materials, hand-washing, physical distancing and getting treatment early in case of any symptoms should still remain a top priority – after all, your family deserves getting the same precautions and consideration from you as the public.
Also, remember to inform healthcare professionals wherever you seek treatment about your recent travels so that they can do the necessary immediately, including taking precautions for themselves.
4. Employers, you play a very big role. If you know of members of staff who recently travelled to Sabah, allow them to work from home and give them the time they need to be away from the office. This will help you in the long run by reducing the risk of someone in the office being diagnosed with Covid-19, forcing you to shut down your premises. If your staff member is working from home, ensure that they have done their Covid-19 tests upon their arrival and a week after. This will ensure that you are doing the very best for your workers and visiting customers.
We must all remember that we cannot leave it to the Health Ministry and healthcare professionals alone to curb the spread of this disease. Everyone plays a part.
DR ARVINDER-SINGH HS
Medical Officer (Research)
Institute of Clinical Research, Hospital Sungai Buloh
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