Public reminded to be vigilant
By:Amyra Varkisa
SBW-annuar covid-1804-avk-1

SIBU: The public is reminded to remain vigilant ahead of the festive celebrations to avoid an increase in the number of daily COVID-19 cases.

The Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee (SDDMC)  coordinator, Dr Annuar Rapaee said in an interview on Tuesday, although Sibu recorded a declining trend in the number of daily cases including severe cases, the public should remain vigilant.

According to Dr Annuar, based on the report sent by Sibu Hospital, no COVID-19 patients were placed in the ventilation ward yesterday.

“Similarly, the number of staff in hospitals infected with COVID-19 has decreased over the past two to three weeks and is a good sign.

“If we are less careful and do not adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs), we may see an increase in the number of cases.

“We hope the new variant will not cause any round of spikes in the number of cases.

“So, to me, we can celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri and then Gawai Dayak, unlike the last two years which have not been vaccinated (before).

“However, we still need to adhere to strict SOPs to curb the spread of the virus and prevent another surge the number of daily cases in Sibu, ” he said.

When asked about the possible increase in the number of cases here following the back to back festive celebrations, Dr Annuar, who is also the Deputy Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development I, said vaccination did not provide full protection against COVID-19 infection.

“It only reduces the severity (when infected) and (mortality rate), but you’re still at risk. That’s why we still have to adhere to the SOPs strictly,” he said.

Commenting on the wearing of face masks, the Nangka assemblyman (ADUN) considered it to somehow be a controversial issue.

He said some people wanted to wear them while others opposed doing so.

“As we move into the endemic phase, it is most important for everyone to play their part in complying with the SOPs rather than being asked to do so by the authorities.

“But let us make it clear that wearing face masks is not only during epidemics or endemic times. Unhealthy people should wear face masks and those in high -risk groups should also wear them.

“And if you are worried, when going to crowded places then, you have to wear it too.

“In other words, we accept this as a new way of life when there are a lot of infections around us,” he added.

Dr Annuar stressed that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) was constantly monitoring the pandemic situation.
“We are briefed every week by our experts on the global situation.

“So, we have to follow their recommendations and cannot do things according to our wishes and desires alone,” he said.
He said SDMC had done an impressive job, especially in terms of vaccination.

“Regarding the number of those receiving booster doses, we (Sarawak) have the highest rate in the country, and for the COVID-19 vaccination under the National COVID-19 Child Immunisation Programme (PICKids),we also have the highest rate in the country for those aged five to 11 years in terms of vaccination rates.

“I think this is partly because SDMC works closely with the Health Department,” he said.

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