SDMC makes the right moves

This is the reality: the virus is there. We have to face it, but face it like a man, damn it, not like a kid. We’ll confront the virus with reality. That’s life.

– Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil President

I have refrained from returning to Sarawak over the past four months because like a “good, obedient boy”, I am listening to the advice and instruction from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

Sarawakians living outside the state have been advised not to travel home unless there are urgent and pressing matters to attend to. So, I’m staying put where I am.

But I must concede that I am also putting off my trip home for ‘selfish’ reasons. I don’t look forward to the two-week hotel quarantine which I find unbearable nor the Covid-19 swab test which can be uncomfortable.

The first and only time I was swabbed was at Kuching International Airport last August. The throat swab was okay but the poke into the nose is another matter. What happened was that my reflex action in withdrawing at the initial nose swab compelled the nurse to take another one. So, it was double discomfort in my case.

My advice to those having to take the swab is to be very relaxed. If you want to avoid it, be a good boy like me (ha ha) — stay home and don’t travel. 

Well, most of us had willingly followed SDMC directives since the pandemic because we know it’s for our own good. Sarawakians are also aware that exercising discipline is necessary over this crucial period.

Lest we forget, it is also our responsibility to help the authorities flatten the pandemic curve. To do that, we have to extend our full cooperation, listen attentively to SDMC’s instructions and abide strictly by the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

At any time, we feel tempted to lapse because we have grown fed-up of following SOPs, take a quiet moment to spare a thought for the doctors, nurses and other frontliners who had put their lives on the line over the past year to save others, including you and me.

Are they not facing a more strenuous and difficult time than us? Yet, they continue and persevere daily in their struggle to heal the sick and prevent fatalities.

Imagine those attached to the intensive care unit (ICU), attending to intubated patients. It must be very emotionally draining for them every time they lose a patient. 

For us, we only have to follow SOPs and stay home. So, let’s stop complaining. At least, we are alive and safe in the comfort of our own home. Many others do not have that luxury.

I am glad and I am sure many Sarawakians are too, with the many decisions taken by SDMC and its quick action in managing the various stages of the pandemic.

Sarawak had done well in the later months of last year. Cases had dropped drastically and economic activities were allowed to resume.

Then disaster struck over the past month and Sibu and Miri were classified red zones. Cases shot up again and new clusters were detected.

A salute to SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah is in order for announcing that Sarawak has been placed on state-wide conditional movement control order (CMCO) by the state government without waiting for Putrajaya’s directive.

I think this quick-thinking move is in the right direction. It is the only logical and sensible step to take. My view is that Sarawak should always do what is necessary in the interest of our people without relying too much on Malaya.

The Ministry of Health and Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah have had their hands full as the situation in the country has reached breaking point. Sarawak understands and we have to help ourselves in the best way possible.

In this fight against Covid-19, we have no time to lose. Every minute and hour can be a matter of life and death. It is also my firm belief that Sarawak leaders know best what to do during such critical times.

So to Uggah, the Sarawak Health Department and the whole SDMC team, I salute you all for making the right call. It was a very important and urgent one.

I must also thank Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian for his regular updates on the situation with his detailed posts on Facebook.

Yes, Dr Sim, I am heeding your advice and will only be celebrating Chinese New Year at home next month. Why fret? If we are alive and healthy, there will always be future New Year festivities to indulge in.  

Meantime, let us all stay positive. Covid-19 can and will be defeated. It only requires our collective action, discipline and forbearance.

Be good boys and girls, everyone. Be obedient. Stay home and be safe.

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.