Rapid response task force set up to mitigate pandemic

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar

KUCHING: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has set up a Rapid Response Task Force led by ministry’s deputy director-general Datuk Dr Chong Chee Kheong to look into how to reduce Covid-19 cases in the country particularly Sarawak.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said among the measures being looked at were testing and isolating positive cases quickly.

“There are a few lessons from the Greater Klang Valley where we were able to reduce the cases quickly and thus will be applied in Sarawak. The focus is to conduct tests and isolate those who are positive.”

He was speaking at a press conference after a special meeting on Covid-19 pandemic management and immunisation with Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) at Wisma Bapa Malaysia yesterday (Sept 26).

“In Sarawak, we take it that the positive results which are done by using RTK Antigen test kit or by self-test is enough for us to isolate and then we will give them the home surveillance order (HSO).

“There is no need to wait for the RT-PCR test and so on. We will do RTK and immediately isolate and we will also isolate and give close contacts and family members the HSO.

“This is very important. Whenever you feel there is a Covid-19 related symptom, conduct a self-test or RTK Antigen test as fast as possible, and when it is positive, isolate yourself.

“For those who are unable to isolate themselves at home, come to the Covid-19 Low Risk Treatment Centres (PKRCs). This is the best way for us to cut the virus transmission,” he stressed.

Khairy explained why focus must be given on educating the community and having community empowerment.

“The first line of defence against Covid-19 is yourself. The moment you have a symptom, get tested, if you are positive, isolate,” he said, adding that health standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be complied with at all times.

He said the key success factor for Sarawak right now was compliance, community empowerment and also individual responsibility.

“This government, of course will look after you if you are sick, and we will do our best to vaccinate everyone but early detection of cases for us to cut the transmission must start with ourselves,” reminded Khairy.