Sarawak minister says early vaccine rollout helped to reduce Covid-19 deaths in state

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Sarawak Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the state’s vaccination programme was carried out in the nick of time, just before the arrival of the Delta variant. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the state’s vaccination programme was carried out in the nick of time, just before the arrival of the Delta variant. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Sept 1 — State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian today said Sarawak’s early start to administering Covid-19 vaccines has been proven to be effective in bringing down the number of deaths in the state.

He said the state’s vaccination programme was carried out in the nick of time, just before the arrival of the Delta variant.

“This post-vaccination period is so important because our Covid-19 positive cases might be high, but the number of deaths and severe cases is very low,” he said, while attending the virtual swearing-in ceremony for the extension of Datuk Wee Hong Seng’s term as the Mayor of Kuching South City Council (MBKS) by a year.

Dr Sim, who is also the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) adviser, recalled that Sarawak was responsible for about 50 per cent of Covid-19 related deaths in Malaysia in April.

“What is happening now, for example, in August, we have recorded 57 deaths, while Malaysia recorded thousands of deaths,” he said.

Dr Sim said the Covid-19 pandemic is causing a lot of disruption to people’s lives, leaving everyone tired, both physically and mentally.

“There is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic will come to an end, but this won’t be happening any time soon.

“The only certainty is uncertainty because the virus keeps mutating, and we, as human beings, must constantly adapt to changes, such as the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the rules,” he added.

Wee, who was appointed MBKS Mayor on September 1, 2019, said the past two years have been challenging for everyone, especially the frontliners, as they faced the Covid-19 pandemic head-on.

“Many of us are utterly exhausted, yet our spirit to serve remains intact,” he said, adding that MBKS has since learnt how to work together with community leaders, non-governmental organisations, and the residents of Kuching South.

He said by working together, Sarawak became the fastest state in achieving optimum inoculation rate.

“We learnt how to sanitise properly, maintain social distancing, and adopt effective means to protect ourselves from the pandemic,” he said.

“We are still far from winning the war, and as we continue to soldier on, it is my personal commitment that no community shall be left behind,” Wee added.

He also thanked the state government, especially Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg and Dr Sim, for extending his term as the mayor of Kuching South.

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