KUCHING, July 8 — Sarawak’s mandatory 14-day quarantine order on all state residents returning from abroad made it possible to detect five Covid-19 cases that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, its state Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Douglas Uggah asserted today.
He said the initial Rapid Test Kit (RTK) Antigen Covid-19 test results of the five people affected, taken upon their return to the country via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), came back negative, which allowed them to continue their journey home to Sarawak.
“But when they were ordered to go for the polymerase chain reaction tests while undergoing quarantine in Sarawak, the outcome was positive,” Uggah said in his media briefing.
He said the latest incident happened in Sibu just yesterday, and related the chronology of the patient known as Case 576, an engineer with an oil-and-gas company in Saudi Arabia who flew home on July 3 and was found negative in the RTK Antigen test at KLIA, but found positive in a second test at the Sibu Airport the next day.
“Upon arrival at the Sibu Airport, he was taken straight to the quarantine centre in Sibu,” he said, adding swabs were taken from the engineer on July 6 and the outcome of the rT-PCR test at the Sibu Hospital laboratory was positive,” Uggah said.
He said the engineer was asymptomatic.
He added that other four cases involved a Sarawakian who returned to Miri from Tunisia, two who returned to Bintulu from Mexico and one from the United Kingdom.
He said if these five people had not been quarantined at designated centres, they would have spread the virus to their family members and to the public.
“Our policy is that all returning Sarawakians must undergo the 14-day quarantine at designated hotels,” Uggah said, adding that PCR tests would be taken from them on the second or third day.
He added they would be asked to return home to continue with the period of quarantine if the PCR tests were negative, but they would be tested again on the 10th day.
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