KUCHING: Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) is prepared for any eventualities should there be a more contagious Covid-19 strain in the state.
Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas noted that the Pasai Cluster is spreading throughout the state, as such SDMC is taking various strategies to ensure that the hospital beds and staff including testing capacity are sufficient.
“Unlike enemy with missiles or atomic bombs, we are fighting with a virus that we cannot see. But they (Sarawak Health Department) are prepared to face whatever eventualities,” he said during the SDMC’s daily Covid-19 update in a press conference on Tuesday.
Uggah said for instance in coping with the increasing positive cases in the state, SDMC has decided to set up more quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC) for Covid-19 with very mild symptoms.
“At SDMC, our capacity is to foresee a situation if cases increase … we foresaw today’s crisis in September last year.
“I have presented to the Ministry of Health (MOH) the need to increase the number of hybrid hospitals in Sarawak because at that particular time the facilities to treat Covid-19 were only available in Sibu, Miri, Kuching and Bintulu,” he said.
As such, he has been notified that RM33 million has been approved for the upgrading of hospitals in Kapit, Serian, Bau, Sri Aman, Sarikei and Limbang.
“Secondly, we have also requested to increase the testing capacity. We formerly managed to 2,500 conduct test per day, prior to that, we now have the testing capacity of 5,500 test per day,” he said, adding that recently MOH approved RM21 million to upgrade lab facilities in Sarawak hospital to increase Covid-19 testing capacity.
“This means that our testing capacity will increase, and the waiting result will be no more than 36 hours,” he said.
Uggah hoped that in three to four weeks’ time, the state could have up to 6,500 testing capacity per day including from those from the private sector.
On the question on whether there are other alternatives for the private sector under essential services to apply for the police permit for work-related travel instead of having to queue at the Sibu police station, Uggah said SDMC gives the respective Divisional Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) the right to decide a policy which suits them.
“If they feel that a certain policy has to be implemented then SDMC will have no objection because they know what is going on the ground. What they see in Sibu is not pleasant scenery. It’s like there is no movement control order (MCO) there.
“I have also communicated with Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee to work out on how to improve the communication system there (Sibu),” he said.
Uggah said most importantly is that he wants the people to cooperate so that the number of employees will not be more than 30 percent in the workplace in order to curb the spread of Covid-19