Threat of virus transmission looms large

Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: The recent Jalan Green, Emperoh Jambu, and Sungai Bakong clusters reflect that Covid-19 is present in the community, says Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He stressed that this meant everyone needed to apply universal precautions.

“The Sungai Bakong Cluster at SMK Meradong was discovered when one of the Form 6 students complained of anosmia (loss of smell),” he said in Facebook post on Monday night.

As this is a boarding school which he likened to a ‘bubble’, he said Covid-19 must have come from staff and teachers from outside the school. He said he had been informed that some teachers commuted from Sibu.

“Given that this is a boarding school – similar to workers’ quarters and prisons in terms of density, with 534 still waiting for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) results, expect more from this cluster.”

As for the Jalan Green Cluster, he said this was discovered following police standard operating procedure (SOP) of PCR testing everyone, even those with no symptoms, before locking them up.

“The Emperoh Jambu Cluster was discovered after one of the persons happened to undergo a PCR test before starting work (no symptoms).

“Contact tracing and testing found 60 persons infected across multiple districts in Kuching division (highly mobile nowadays).”

He noted that State Police Commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail had just announced more personnel to support the enforcement of Covid-19 policies and SOPs.

“But no amount of fines or compounds, police or army personnel, PCR machines, quarantine centres, or hospitals beds can stop the spread of Covid-19 unless every Sarawakian is cooperative, and self-disciplined – seriously playing their role and doing their part.”

He said that although Covid-19 had been around for over a year, there was indeed no magic solution to prevent the spread apart from SOPs such as physical distancing, wearing face masks, and practising hand hygiene.