SUPP Youth Wing chief urges govt to set public health lab in Sarawak

Sulok Tawie
SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang today urged the federal government to immediately approve funding for a public health laboratory in Sarawak to test blood samples from people suspected to have been infected with 2019 novel coronavirus. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Jan 28 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth wing today urged the federal government to immediately approve funding for a public health laboratory in Sarawak to test blood samples from people suspected to have been infected with 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Its chief Michael Tiang said all blood samples collected in Sarawak currently is sent to Kuala Lumpur for testing.

“Like our recent Bintulu coronavirus case, we have to send the blood sample to KL for further test and that would take longer time than necessary in an urgent case like this,” he said.

Tiang said there is a public health lab being set up in Sabah, but not in Sarawak.

“A public health lab is an important facility that concerns public health, yet Sarawak is without domestic access to such facility in order to be able to provide quick assistance in critical situations like a virus outbreak,” he said.

Tiang also called on the Health Ministry to set up a thermal scan at the Sibu Airport to ensure that Sibu town remains free of coronavirus.

He applauded Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari’s decision that the state government would consider allocating special funding to purchase face masks to tackle virus outbreak in Sarawak.

“I would like to further suggest that the state government stock up face masks from time to time to ensure the state always has sufficient domestic supply of face masks in time of critical situations,” he said.

Separately, Muara Tuang State Assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang said the federal and state governments should work together to establish facilities to quarantine and treat patients suspected of contracting the Wuhan coronavirus.

“Such facilities must be far away and separate from the already crowded and cramped hospitals like the Sarawak General Hospital,” he said.

Idris said placing suspected coronavirus patients in those hospitals would put other patients and visitors in a vulnerable position.

He said the chances of spreading the virus from one person to another in those overcrowded hospitals are highly probable.

“Therefore, there should be a totally new establishment even if it is just a makeshift one so long as it is installed with the basic medical equipment and apparatus,” Idris, who is also PBB information chief, said.

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