Tips on how to avoid family clusters

Dr Sim Covid
Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian is concerned over the emergence of family clusters due to the Covid-19 infection.

The Local Government and Housing Minister said currently, the number one cluster in Sarawak was the family cluster.

He then shared tips on how families and friends could gather in a safer manner.

“Organise virtual meetings where possible. Minimise the number of visitors to our house, particularly unplanned visits,” he said in a Facebook post yesterday (Sept 14).

“If it is not feasible, family and friends should keep the group small and don’t forget to keep a guest list. If possible, choose to meet outdoors.

“If the meeting is held indoors, ensure the venue is well-ventilated. Open all windows and doors. Switch on ceiling fans.

“Also direct standing fans to blow out of the door or window and not at anyone. Avoid using the air-conditioner and keep windows and doors open even when it is in operation,” he said.

Dr Sim said the meeting should be short as possible and no food should be served during or after the event in order to reduce the mask-off period.

“It is also important to sanitise the area when the event is over. Continue to keep the area well-ventilated for a period before switching off the fans.

“In addition, make your meeting as Covid-19 free as possible by encouraging the guests to take a self-test saliva rapid test before coming to an event,” he said.

Dr Sim added it was also important for family and friends to disallow guests who were unwell — no matter how mild the sickness was — from attending the event.

“Instead, get them to do Covid-19 swab test right away,” he advised.

Dr Sim pointed out that all Covid-19 cases in Sarawak were imported by Sarawakians or non-Sarawakians from outside the state and these had resulted in severe disruption, sufferings and hardships.

“Our first Covid in Sarawak was in March last year, which was six to eight weeks after West Malaysia. As a result, while the rest of Malaysia had 113,010 cases with 471 deaths by Dec 31, Sarawak had only 1,117 cases and 19 deaths,” he said.

He added the surge of Covid-19 cases was in January this year after the cases imported from Johor resulted in the Pasai cluster.

“In May, Sarawak had quite a few days of being number one for having the highest cases in Malaysia. Fortunately, this coincided with the scaling up of vaccine arrival while the rest of Malaysia had a surge of cases and death with the arrival of the Delta variant in Malaysia.

“Six to eight weeks later, Delta was imported to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur. This caused a surge of cases due to Delta beyond greater Kuching,” he said.

Dr Sim stressed that as Sarawak was now in the post-vaccination and Delta variant era, it was important to be on the alert and to slow down the transmission by having a combination of non-pharmaceutical and public health measures to reduce viral loads, severity and community transmission.