Infection rate can be controlled, we have done it before

Abang Johari (seated centre) speaks to reporters while Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who is also the SDMC chairman and Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian (right) look on. Photo: JaPen

KUCHING: Sarawak is capable of slowing down and reducing the spread of Covid-19 again like the previous times.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is optimistic that the objective is achievable through effective enforcement strategies plus the cooperation of everyone.

He pointed out that in managing the pandemic, the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) implements a full containment policy of tracing, testing, quarantining and isolating positive cases.

Towards the end of last year, following a period under the movement control order (MCO), Sarawak managed to flatten the infection curve.

He believed that the factor the contributed to that success was everyone’s understanding of and compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“The state had since undergone MCO1, MCO2, MCO3 and MCO4 which had adversely impacted the economic health of Sarawak and its people.

“During the recovery movement control order (RMCO), Sarawak managed to successfully to keep many districts green with some yellow from Nov 25 last year to Jan 7 this year.

“We entered January with 35 green zones and five yellow zones only. The cases were few and we managed to keep them down for a number of months.

“This was possible because everyone played their part in adhering to the SOPs. There was no need for fines or penalise anyone in other ways. Everyone knew what to do and the level of public awareness was high,” he said at a media conference on Covid-19 SOP Enforcement at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here on Monday (April 19).

Unfortunately, Sarawak started recording imported cases on Jan 8, and from then onwards the pandemic spread all over the state.

“The numbers gradually increased but at a controlled rate although people in some areas complied with the SOPs, while others didn’t.

“We need to remind ourselves that we were able to flatten the curve before and we can do it again. This can only be done with the cooperation of many,” Abang Johari went on.

In light of the current increase in cases in a number of places, namely, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, the SDMC has decided to extend the conditional movement control order (CMCO) from April 13 to 26.

Abang Johari said that following the worrying situation in the state, it has also been decided that the “trace, test, quarantine and isolate” strategy on positive cases be continued.

SDMC also maintains the 14-day quarantine for people entering Sarawak to prevent more imported cases from coming in.

“Since January, the 14-day quarantine requirement had led to the discovery of 60 positive cases who returned from overseas (Import A) and 270 positive cases that returned from other states (Import B). They were all quarantined in hotels,” he said.