Upgrading testing capacity, contact-tracing team

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

KUCHING: Sarawak is now upgrading its Covid-19 testing capacity and contact-tracing team to ensure the state is prepared for any eventuality.

“At the moment, we are doing about 2,000 (tests) a day, and we hope to increase it to 3,000,” said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) Covid-19 update press conference on Wednesday (Oct 14).

He said their aim was also to enable test results to be available within 24 hours.

“We are also strengthening our contact-tracing team to ensure that we will be able to identify close contacts and test in a very speedy manner.”

He said this was the state’s strategy to curb and contain the spread of Covid-19 as well as to prepare for any possibility, especially in light of the rising number of cases in areas around Sarawak.

On SDMC’s plans to assist Sabah in containing its Covid-19 spread, Uggah, who is also SDMC chairman, said all movement in Sabah was managed by the National Security Council (MKN).

“Whatever the instruction is from MKN, SDMC will always be prepared to assist. But at the same time, we have to ensure that we uphold our strength here because we do not know what further developments may occur,” he said, emphasising that Sarawak must be prepared.

Meanwhile, State Health Department deputy director (Public Health) Dr Rosemawati Ariffin said Sarawak had sent 19 staff members to Sabah to assist with the Covid-19 situation there.

According to her, these staff members included assistant environmental health officers, assistant medical officers, and nurses.

“We will see the requests from Sabah through the Health Ministry (MoH), as we send our officers through MoH’s directives. We will monitor the situation further to see if we can send more.”