Behavioural change among public needed to stop virus spread

Chairman's Facebook live with doctors. Photo: Facebook of SMC chairman Clarence Ting.

KUCHING: There is a need for a behavioural change among the public to reduce and prevent Covid-19 transmissions.

Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) senior paediatric consultant and epidemiologist Dr Ooi Mong Hoi believed that if everyone was disciplined and observed Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), the outbreak could
actually be under control.

“Take Taiwan or Taipei for example, before any outbreak, the public there actually put on face masks when they go out. This is because they learnt from the bad experience of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

“Secondly, in Singapore, although there are still cases that slipped through, they can somehow contain the disease very quickly as the community is very disciplined and put on face masks at all times,” he said during a Facebook live session with doctors hosted by Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting today.

He said it is important for the community to look after each other, and understand the importance of putting on face masks and practising good hygiene.

“At SGH, where I look after the areas of children, personal hygiene and wearing of face masks have a lot of impact.

“As soon as there were requirements of wearing a face mask, face shield and observing good hand hygiene in March last year, the number of admissions to the children’s ward has reduced significantly even until today.”

He said often, when adults or young people go out, they would not feel ill but they would bring the infection home and pass it to the elderly and children.

“Of course in Covid-19, the children are the luckier group (does not cause immediate danger to them) but that does not mean that they are not affected.

“Because children are affected in a different way — in their education and social development. Covid-19 is not just a health problem alone, but a huge economic problem and social problem. Therefore, we need to get this across to the people.

“One of the ways to contain the spread is not only through contact tracing, we can encourage everyone to go for self-testing quickly when we feel that we have been exposed to a potential infected area or feel unwell so that we would know our health status.

“While waiting for the test result, do self isolate and keep away from family members and friends, and only come out when we know our health status. This is very important,” he stressed.

Others invited to the live session were Sarawak United People’s Party Bawang Assan chairman Senator Robert Lau; Rejang Medical Centre, Sibu obstetrician consultant and gynaecologist Dr Peter Tang; and KPJ Sibu Specialist Medical Centre orthopaedic surgeon Dr Wong Chya Wei.