Cases Declared In Sibu Is An Expensive Lesson To Learn From Wrong Policy Of Home Quarantine


Press Statement Of Irene Chang:

With 37 positive covid cases declared yesterday in Sibu, it is an expensive lesson to learn from the wrong policy of home quarantine. And with the record high of 55 cases yesterday in Sarawak, it is clear that SDMC’s control of the situation is slipping. It is therefore time for some fast and bold decisions in the management of the Covid 19 pandemic in Sarawak if we do not want Sarawak to be like another Selangor or Johor or Sabah. We need to arrest these figures before they soar to the 3 or4 digits on a daily count. And the only way to regain control is to make fast decisions which are bold and decisive and even if they might be unpopular with the people. Enforcement measures have to be taken against all those who does not follow the SOPs strictly. For as long as the pandemic is still around and the tried and tested vaccine is still readily not available, there can be no relaxation of the basic rules of social distancing, no large gatherings, masks to be worn at all times and hands to be washed regularly. This should still be strictly observed even in the green zones. And all returnees to the State, should be quarantined in quarantine centres at all times with no exemption allowed for anyone, be they a minister or an ordinary man on the street. Home quarantines cannot be allowed in any circumstances. And if quarantined centres are not readily available, a lockdown should be put in place with only limited incoming and outgoing flights.

At the time of writing, Sibu needs only 2 more cases before it turns into a red zone. SDMC should think and act ahead and liaise with the Ministry of Education to prepare to postpone the reopening of the schools on 20th January. This should be done until all contact tracing from the Pasai Cluster and even the Mador Cluster (as some contact persons were from Sibu) have been completed and all persons who have been in contact with the index case have been either quarantined or cleared. We cannot discount the fact that even though these clusters are in the outskirt of town and in Maradong respectively, these infected persons may have been moving around the town before they had known of their positive result. Random swab test should also be more widely carried out and not only in places where the positive cases have been found. SDMC needs to act fast and boldly without any fear of political backlash if they want to stop the figures from climbing. And they have to be prepared that even with stringent measures in place, it might not always result in a rapid drop of cases. Even so, actions that need to be taken should be taken before our already overburdened health facilities collapsed under the weight of
overwhelming numbers of positive cases.