Dr Chin Zin Hing

KUCHING: Sarawak has taken samples from 33,530 individuals and performed 45,378 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swabs by noon on Monday. 

State Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing said for each individual, more than one swabs were taken.

“We took these swabs and did the PCR tests. The positive rate was 1.62 percent, which is comparable with the rate for the whole Malaysia which is at 1.53 percent,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Dr Chin said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), if all tests were done and the positive rate was less than 10 percent, it meant the state was doing enough tests.

“To compare the total or the per thousand population tested, for the whole of Malaysia, 13.8 per thousand had been tested using PCR while for Sarawak, it was 11.2.

 “In short, we are actually testing quite adequately in Sarawak but, of course, we still have to keep on testing to detect cases as fast as possible,” he said, adding that tests are still ongoing.

However, the state is now focusing on students and others.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said some members of the public felt that Sarawak had no new positive cases because no tests were done.

“Testing is very important. As reported in CNN and BBC, the main issue is testing. And Sarawak, the State Health Department and SDMC also subscribe to that — we conduct as many tests as possible.

“So now we are discussing with the State Health Department on the next step in our preparation for the possible second wave. What we want to know is how far the virus has spread in Sarawak, especially in the red zones, before this,” he said.

Uggah said labs that could conduct the tests are at Unimas, Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), Sibu Hospital and Miri Hospital. Bintulu Hospital is now installing the relevant facilities.

“We have directed the State Health Department to upgrade the testing facilities in the rural areas. This is because more than 5,000 students have returned from other states and some are now in the rural areas.

“According to a specialist, fighting Covid-19 is like fighting fire in the peat soil. We have to put it out as soon it is detected so that it won’t spread,” he said.

Uggah added that SDMC had directed a study on the capacity of contact tracing teams in all the divisions in preparation for a possible second wave of Covid-19.