Local Council Should Allow Weeding Works To Be Resumed During 3rd Phase of MCO to Curb The Spread of Unwanted Diseases

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Press Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:

I strongly encourage the Local Council in Sarawak to give special consideration to allow “grass-cutting” works to be resumed and be considered an essential service especially during this 3rd phase of the MCO.

It is a matter of public health, as such activities help not just keep the general environmental hygiene, but also curb the spread of any unwanted diseases such as dengue.

While such activities should be allowed to continue, but precautions must be taken by the council and the workers, as safety and security measures must not be compromised at any cost. Any workers should be screened first and during their work, they must carry out the grass-cutting in isolation. They can also do daily monitoring including body temperature and other signs of all their workers before the commence with their daily work.

This is consistent with the recent announcement by the Federal Government, which list grass-cutting is one of the types of work that is allowed to be done during this 3rd phase of MCO.

However, in Sarawak, we have our own Local Council Ordinance, thus giving us the autonomy to decide whether the local council chooses to follow the direction or not.

While we are all taking all the necessary precautions and fighting the outbreak of COVID-19, we must not let our guards down as other diseases are also still existing and possibly spreading in our midst. The national mortality or death rate from dengue alone in 2019 was 162 deaths in a year

This year alone, Sarawak recorded 637 dengue cases from Jan 1 to Feb 29 2020— a sharp increase from 314 cases for the same period last year. In Kuching, a total of 68 cases were recorded within that period. This is of course consistent with the worrying growing trend since last year of cases of dengue in Sarawak.

Based on general observations as well as public feedback, since the enforcement of the MCO, we have seen such services stopped and due to it, we see more and more overgrown grass, weed or even excess vegetation in the drains or even by the roadside.

That is why activities such as grass cutting or even flushing of drains should be allowed to be continued to remove any possible breeding ground of Aedes Mosquitoes especially during the recent hot weather.

Overgrown grass can even act as hiding place of dangerous reptiles such as snakes and lizards that may eventually invade into normal residential homes and endangering the occupants.

Such activities of course should always be carried out with the necessary precautions and be done in isolation with proper distancing. In order to fight the outbreak of any disease, as we promote the importance of personal hygiene, we must not also forget the importance of environmental hygiene.

That is why it is important we do not take our eyes off the ball with regards to dengue or other diseases, and learn how we can protect ourselves and our families from the tiny but dangerous Aedes mosquito.