Sarawak minister urges public not to attack Covid-19 patient who hid Italy visit

Sulok Tawie
·3-min read
A supermarket employee delivers products as Italy tightens measures to try and contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Rome, Italy March 28, 2020. — Reuters pic
A supermarket employee delivers products as Italy tightens measures to try and contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Rome, Italy March 28, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUCHING, April 6 — State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah today called for a stop to accusations against a Covid-19 patient who did not disclose a visit to Italy after returning to the country.

He said he has read in social media of all sorts of accusations against the person who worked in the private sector in Kuching.

“There is no need to make accusations and counter-accusations and so on, on the person who came back after travelling to Italy and not adhering to regulations (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988),” Karim said in his media briefing on the latest Covid-19 situation in the state.

“I wish to state here that the (Covid-19) pandemic does not choose its victims based on race or religion. What has happened is something that all of us did not want to see happen,” he said.

He said he is sure that the people don’t want this virus to spread, saying: “There is no need for us to shout about it that the deaths or spread of the coronavirus because of that any person or a person from a certain community or professing a certain religion.”

Karim, who deputised for Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah who is undergoing a 14-day self-quarantine, said such accusations can cause uneasiness and ill-feelings among the people.

“If a person knows that he or she has the virus, I am sure that they will not get to work in the office.

“The same goes with (Assistant Transport Minister) Datuk Dr Jerip Susil.

“If he knew he was a positive case for coronavirus, he would not have come for a meeting on March 27 on the food supply chain committee,” he said.

Among those who attended the meeting were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Early Childhood Development Minister Datuk Sri Fatimah Abdullah and Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

They are now undergoing self-quarantine for Covid-19 supervision and observation.

Yesterday, Health director-general Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah cited as an example of a person who caused 37 other infections because of a failure to inform health authorities of the visit to Italy where over 10,000 people have died from Covid-19 infections.

He had said the example also showed why it was essential for those possibly exposed to Covid-19 to be forthright with health authorities.

He had said the person identified as Case 1,580 had been to Italy but did not disclose this upon returning to the country.

The person then became an index patient who went on to infect over three dozen other people, resulting in at least five deaths and leaving one in critical condition.

Related Articles Home Minister: Just 10pc of Malaysians working in Singapore have returned home Covid-19: Zoo Negara takes precautionary measures to keep animals safe Bimbang haiwan peliharaan dijangkiti Covid-19? Ini perkara anda perlu tahu