Another dead from Covid-19 in Sarawak

Sulok Tawie

Health Ministry personnel screened individuals for fevers as part of Covid-19 precautions, before sending them to transit centres for the homeless during the MCO March 30, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May.

KUCHING, March 31 — Sarawak registered another death from Covid-19 today, bringing the number of fatalities to eight, state Disaster Management Committee deputy chairman Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said.

He said the latest victim is a 40-year old lecturer from Kota Samarahan who died at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).

He said the sources of the deaths of two persons, a 47-year old from Kuching and a 41-year old woman from Miri of Covid-19 yesterday, are still under investigation.

“We have now a few new clusters, beside the five that the health department has already established.

“We also record 21 positive cases today with 20 at SGH and one at the Sibu Hospital. These have brought the total number of positive cases to 135,” Dr Sim said.

He said the Health Department has increased its capability to perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which was why it was detecting more positive cases.

“Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) is now helping SGH with this PCR testing while Sibu Hospital since last night has begun to do its PCR testing.

“We are now in the process of getting the Miri and Bintulu Hospitals to develop their capacity in doing similar testing.

“As such, we would like to urge more people who have either been in close or casual contact with anyone from all our Covid-19 clusters and those who had travelled to the infected countries mid-February this year to come forward to do the screening at the government hospitals and at the screening centre at the Youth and Sports centre at Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Road here,” he said.

He advised them not to wait as this could cost them their lives or that of their family members, relatives and others as well as other Sarawakians.

He cited a case of three family members who all died after one of them spread it to the other two.

He said one person also spread Covid-19 to 27 relatives.

He said this person had contracted Covid-19 from someone who had been to Italy.

Dr Sim said 46 new persons-under-investigation (PUI) cases are registered today, adding that since yesterday 93 PUIs are still in the state’s hospitals.

“We have nine in the intensive care units of which eight are in SGH and one in Sibu Hospital while 14 patients have been discharged, consisting of nine from SGH, four from Sibu Hospital and one from Miri Hospital,” he said.

Dr Sim, who is also the state minister of local government and housing, said the disaster committee is looking at setting up more quarantine centres for Kuching.

He said the Amiruddin Baki Education Leadership and Management Training Institute and the Inland Revenue Board Academy here are being proposed to cope up with any eventuality.

“In addition, we are looking at the Royal Custom and Excise Academy,” he added.

Dr Sim said the disaster committee is still getting the Chinese medical experts from China’s Fujian provincial government to share their experiences and technical expertise in dealing with Covid-19.

“We are doing this through weekly video conferencing. We appreciate all the help we can get in dealing with these unseen killers,” he said.

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