‘Sibu Divisional Health Office the decision maker’

Uggah stresses a point during the press conference. Photo: JaPen.

KUCHING: TheSibu Division Health Office will decide what is best to do regarding the request to let hawkers operate via takeaway at Taman Selera Harmoni Market, said Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

“They know best on what is happening on the ground. It is not in our intention to torture the people by reducing their source of income but we have to do it in their best interest,” he said.

He was referring to a recent public outcry pertaining to the closure of the market located at Jalan Awang Ramli Amit in Sibu as an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“We have standard operating procedures (SOPs) whereby if there is a positive case detected in a certain area, the first thing we will do is to conduct screening for possible contacts.

“Next, we will shut down the operation of the premises until we obtain the test results and after conducting disinfection activities.

“We know there are always issues arising from such decision but we hope everyone will endure it. We are not doing it to torture them but we are doing it in the interest of public health,” he told a daily Covid-19 press conference on Friday (Jan 29).

Commenting on the hike in number of Covid-19 cases in rural areas, Uggah said the committee through National Security Council (MKN) has forwarded a request to Ministry of Health (MOH) to increase the state’s screening capacity from 2,500 to 5,000 daily.

“We also took note that with the increase of positive cases, the hospital capacity will be ‘tergugat’ (challenged) and overrun. Therefore, we have also asked Putrajaya to upgrade our hospitals into Covid-19 hospitals and increase number of beds in several places.

“Some of it are currently in progress and there are some allocations given for us to increase the screening capacity and other facilities in hospitals.

“However, to increase the number of beds, we have set up Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centres (PKRCs) in almost all divisions in the state. This is to accommodate the need of beds when the number of cases continues to increase.

“At the moment, we are still very comfortable and we hope the cases would not increase. We have asked the Divisional Health Offices to monitor and evaluate the situation to observe whether there is a need to add the number of PKRCs,” he added.