Press Statement By Irene Chang:
SDMC need to clarify clearly what is the mechanism adopted for the 34 zonings to handle the Covid situation in Sibu. It is noted that the 34 zonings consist of defined localities in Sibu and the SDMC chairman, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah had said that they would implement Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) when they observe a spike in the numbers of the cases in any specific area.
However, SDMC need to explain how do they plan to do this, given that most localities in Sibu do not have clear and defined communities on its own in the sense that a lot of people are not staying and working in the same community and have to travel out of the zone to go to work or back home. Like for example, people who stay in Tiong Hua zone may be working in Rejang Park zone.
So, if there is a spike in Tiong Hua Zone and an EMCO is imposed in that area, would the people there be in total lockdown or would they still be allowed to travel to Rajang Park to go to work with a police permit? Or vice versa, would people who stay in Rejang Park be allowed to go to their workplace in Tiong Hua Zone?
If a police permit is allowed for these people to go in and out of the EMCO area, it would cause another serious disruption and hardship to the people not unlike the situation when the requirement for work related police permit was imposed in a short period of time during the last 3 days of the first MCO in Sibu. It would also be a loophole for the spread of the infection which would put the co-workers at high risk if the person applying for the work-related police permit is asymptomatic.
In theory, target EMCO might seem a good idea and it might work in specific zones if the zones are far apart in distance and they have a more contained communities like as in Sibu Jaya and Jeriah and to a lesser extent, Farley and Sentosa. For those situated in the main Sibu town with its surrounding communities, there is no way we can segregate them and imposed an exclusive EMCO. SDMC would need to be more practical in their approach and might need to redraw the zones if they want this strategy to work efficiently and effectively. And to put in place a solution for those who might still be caught by the different zonings in their workplace and place of residence. SDMC needs to be proactive and think ahead and prepare for all eventualities and not only cross the bridge when they come to it.
Another issue which SDMC has to address is that there seems to be no consistent movement control on the persons who are tested negative the first time but who have been in close contact with those who have been tested positive. While some are instructed to home quarantine themselves, others are not given any instructions at all. And if the person involved does not take the initiative to self-quarantine himself and he continues with his daily routine of going to work or to go out to town to get his essentials, it would be too late when and if his 2nd swab test come in positive a few days later. The damage would have been done in the few days between the 1st negative swab and the 2nd positive swab.
How is the infection ever going to be curb here as there are so many loopholes in the handling of the situation in Sibu which is allowing the infection to spread. SDMC cannot afford to make another mistake like the home quarantine policy. The people have suffered enough.