Covid-19 policies to be adjusted according to situation

Dr Sim Kui Hian speaking to reporters after officiating at the Peladang Prihatin Sarawak programme held at the Sarawak General Hospital Day Care Centre on Friday (July 23).

KUCHING: Policies related to Covid-19 are dynamic and will constantly be monitored and adjusted according to the current circumstances as well as in line with the changing virus, says Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

“As the virus changes, our policies need to change and everyone needs to understand,” he told reporters after officiating at the Peladang Prihatin Sarawak programme held at the Sarawak General Hospital Day Care Centre on Friday (July 23).

With regard to the presence of the more infectious Delta variant in Sarawak, the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee advisor said the standard operating procedures would be tightened.

He said this referred to the way in which the situation was handled such as how the enhanced movement control order would be imposed on localities.

He added that there were some minor adjustments in quarantine measures but the period was still 14 days.

Noting that the Covid-19 variants such as the Delta variant were imported, he said, “At this point in time, it is always very challenging guarding our borders.”

Nevertheless, Dr Sim believed that it was unrealistic to have a total lockdown for Sarawak, in which the state would have no connection with anywhere else and no planes coming in or leaving at all.

“Guarding our borders does not just involve air borders but also our jalan tikus (illegal routes),” he said, adding that the best measure at the moment was for the state to impose quarantine orders.

At the same time, he said Covid-19 variants would be around as long as there were transmissions of the virus.

In response to a question regarding his earlier statement that all new Covid-19 cases would be treated as though they were of the Delta variant, he explained that this meant that everyone had to live with the virus while being on high alert.

“To test the Delta variant, the genomic study takes two to four weeks to come back,” he said, noting that in this timeframe, a positive case would likely have already been discharged from the hospital.

He pointed out that due to the vigorous vaccination programme in the state, in the last month, there had been a reduction in Covid-19 cases in the intensive care units and cases had decreased despite the presence of the Delta variant.

“In the last week, we can see that our cases in Category 5 (requiring intubation) and Category 4 (requiring hospitalisation and oxygen) have gone down.

“We have a lot of cases in Category 1 (no symptoms) and the increase in Category 2 (mild symptoms) is the most – meaning if people are infected, they are most likely to have some mild symptoms.”

Dr Sim said living with the virus would involve getting as many people as possible completely vaccinated and complying with Covid-19 health measures even after being vaccinated.

He added that this also involved isolating and getting tested if one felt unwell or had symptoms.