Severe cases, hospital usage and deaths as indicators

Dr Sim Kui Hian Covid
Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: Sarawak, being a state with a high vaccination rate, must be assessed on the number of severe Covid-19 cases, hospital bed usage and deaths to gauge its pandemic situation.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the situation is now similar to other countries that had vaccinated most of its adult population like Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“These places are moving into the next stage of the pandemic which is living with Covid-19, reopening their economy safety and slowly.

“The numbers of Category 4 and 5, hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) bed usage, the number of deaths including brought in dead (BID) cases will be the key indicators that need to be monitored rather than several new Covid-19 cases,” he said.

He said meanwhile for the rest of Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Brunei, they are still catching up with the Covid-19 vaccination and needs to have a zero Covid-19 case policy.

“As a result of the unexpected arrival of the Delta variant, while catching up with vaccination, these places are stuck at the stage of a pandemic that relies on drastic non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdown and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“Daily new positive cases will be the key indicator that needs to be monitored so that Category 4 and 5 cases will not overrun the system,” he said in a Facebook post today.

Dr Sim said with a low vaccination rate, these areas will be able to afford sustained non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdowns and intensive PCR tests.

At the same time, the Local Government and Housing Minister said despite Sarawak recording four-digit daily cases, about 99 percent of the cases are Category 1 and 2, meaning patients with no symptoms or mild symptoms.

“Although our hospital and ICU bed usage is low and 95 percent of the cases are due to contact tracing rather than sporadic cases, we need to be on high alert.

“We need to practise social distancing, wear face masks and observe the standard operating procedures,” he said.