Research: 35% of Sarawakians must comply to SOPs to curb Covid-19

By Emma Victoria

A RESEARCH recently indicated that only 20% of the exposed population in Sarawak complied with the Covid-19 SOPs while the rest did not.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Associate Professor Dr Jane Labadin highlighted the importance of self-precautionary measures taken by every individual in her recent report.

Denoting this as “kappa”, κ in her model, she has shown how sensitive this value is to the daily total active cases. The model has shown that after every festive dates, the number of active cases increased resulting in value drop of κ.


Figure 1: Simulations of the daily total active cases with various value of κ representing the population compliance of the SOPs. (Source: Labadin, J. and Hong, B.H. (2021), “Sarawak COVID-19: Effects of Gathering”. COVID-MYSim


Based on the simulations done for Sarawak Covid-19 data, the κ currently found was as low as 0.2 indicating a mere 20% of the exposed population that comply to the SOPs and the rest did not.

“Now that the virus is known to be in the community, this means those individuals that go out for errands and visitations are considered exposed.”

“In order to curb the rising number of the daily total active cases this value of κ needs to increase to at least 0.35 or more, which means the need of more than 35% of the population to adhere to the SOPs,” she said.

As the effect of the Hari Raya celebration is still being felt now and coinciding with the start of Gawai celebrations, it is thus expected that it may greatly affect the number of cases.

Dr Jane and her team recently provided the current Covid-19 model simulations to various divisions in Sarawak as well as to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee.

The role played by everyone in the population is very important as it directly affects the value of the parameter κ in the model.

Therefore, it is important for the population to adhere to the practising of hand-hygiene, use of face masks, and any other forms of individual effective precautionary measures such as avoiding crowded places and so on.

She said that everyone must adhere to the SOPs and would be best to avoid visitations during the festive season.

Dr Jane is an active researcher evident from many internal and external research projects that she leads as well as from her publications. Her research interest is generally in computational modelling of dynamical systems which includes infectious disease modelling.