KUCHING: One of the reasons that Sarawak insists on a 14-day quarantine for those entering the state irrespective of vaccination status is that even if one may have a ‘vaccination passport’, it is not the same as having immunity or an infection-free guarantee.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian explained that such a policy was implementable by the state due to Sarawak’s immigration autonomy.
“Despite the inconveniences, heartache, and hardships, it is to prevent variants from spreading into Sarawak.
“When it comes to (the) virus, we must implement policies like a country,” he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (June 1).
The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor said one of the reasons for rolling out vaccinations as fast as possible was to prevent Covid-19 mutations and the formation of variants.
He stressed that what is needed is herd immunity, not just people being registered for vaccinations.
“Thanks to Sarawak’s united war efforts, the spirit of solidarity, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) is able to do genomic surveillance locally in Sarawak to complement the Ministry of Health’s overall Covid-19 strategies,” he said.
Dr Sim said not only Sarawak but the whole of Malaysia needs to do more genomic surveillance, though there is limited expertise and only centres of excellence can perform this.
“If you don’t test, you don’t find it. Blissful ignorance is not a blessing in this Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
He pointed out that some of the Covid-19 variants had implications on the vaccines and may partially contribute to the infection waves that Sarawak is facing.
“We need every Sarawakian to help (guard) our air, sea, and land borders until all our neighbours have achieved vaccine herd immunity and no active variant transmissions in their local communities,” he said.