Stop the knee-jerk reactions

Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman

KUCHING: Opposition political parties should cease their knee-jerk reactions to the high number of positive Covid-19 cases in the state.

“As political parties, claiming to represent the people, they should at least make an effort to understand the gravity of the current Covid-19 situation, which was aggravated by the spread of the Delta variant,” said Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman.

Fazzrudin lamented that the opposition parties leveraged on the misinformation and ignorance of the people, who took the daily figures of Covid-19 at face value without the appropriate context, hence instilling panic and anxiety among the masses.

He noted that SDMC, throughout its handling of Covid-19 has been getting the advice of health experts and epidemiologists to tackle the current situation.

This had allowed the state to contain the spread of the cases to a manageable level until early this year when the Pasai outbreak occurred which triggered three digits daily cases for the first half of the year.

Despite this, and with the rapid Covid-19 vaccine rollout, he said Sarawak had been able to reduce its cases in July with a significant decline, only for the cases to climb due to the spread of the Delta Covid-19 variant in August.

Fazzrudin said with its increasing variants, Covid-19 would be endemic in the state — meaning that it would continue to circulate among the population, adding: “It is clear that the Covid-19 adapts to the situation and so should we”.

He said of Sarawak’s daily cases of 3,714 on Sept 6, only four cases were from Category Three to Five with the remaining 3,710 cases in Category One (no symptoms) and Category Two (mild symptoms).

“This should be an indication that the state is in an endemic phase, a fact that is concurred by Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Facebook post on Sept 6.

“Presently, despite the Delta variant, 99 percent of the Covid-19 cases are in Category 1 and Category 2 with the high vaccination rate. This is similar to other developed countries which has high vaccination coverage, namely United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore.”

In light of this, Fazzrudin called on the SDMC to clarify on the current Covid-19 strategy on whether the anti-pandemic fight is in the mitigation or containment phase.

He said with mitigation, the strategy would be only to test symptomatic Covid-19 cases, which would contribute to a lower daily case tally and a reduced strain on the health system.

“However, with containment, mass testing is being done and with the high testing numbers, it will contribute to higher Covid-19 cases, raising alarm bells among members of the public, who are fixated on assessing the current situation based on the number of cases alone.”

He expressed hope that with a better understanding of the government’s policy it would allow members of the public to have some context in regards to the Covid-19 situation and boost public confidence in the government’s handling of the health crisis.

The assemblyman also urged Sarawakians to be vigilant at all times amid the increased spread of Covid-19 and not let their guard down.

He said whilst carrying out their daily routines, they should not disregard the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as it was the only thing that would save them in the event of an outbreak.

“We should also understand the endemic and what the phase entails and its key indicators. This is crucial as we move towards reopening of the economy and recovery from this health crisis.”