Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: The public are urged to adapt to policy changes made by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to minimise new risks of infections.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the policy had to change according to the needs as the current situation was dynamic.

“Despite interstate travel not being allowed as part of the federal government’s conditional movement control order (CMCO) and no ‘balik kampung’ (trips to villages) for the festive seasons, some 1,000 Sarawakians are returning home from Malaya every day.

“So in order to protect Sarawakians from more imported Covid-19 cases, the Sarawak government had to exercise its autonomous powers over immigration and local public health.

“This is to quarantine all returning Sarawakians for fourteen days, along with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab, home and hotel quarantine, wristbands as advised by the medical professionals.

“Not only do we want those people coming home to be safe but for their families and Sarawak to be safe as well,” he posted on Facebook late Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii questioned the shift in policy whereby Sarawakians looking to return home had to apply for police permits along with applying for the same from the SDMC.

Dr Yii said such sudden change in policy may cause inconvenience to many and at the same time would create confusion among the masses.

Dr Sim, on the other hand, stressed that the policy changes were unavoidable due to the number of returnees and the logistics involved.

“We need your understanding, cooperation, forgiveness in the spirit of Sarawak solidarity to combat Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

He added that the world was still learning about the virus and was doing it together with other countries.

“Even resourceful countries like China, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Singapore have to constantly change policies to deal with the dynamic nature of the pandemic,” he said.