Sarawak was “almost there” to overcome Covid-19 but the government failed

A Covid-19 disinfection exercise in Kuching in 2020. – Bernama photo.

SARAWAK government had the chance to overcome Covid-19 in the state in January, when the numbers were still low but the state is now in the containment phase as the mitigation strategy has failed.

In a posting by Gabriel Walter in the Sarawak Covid-19 awareness group page, he said the Sarawak government has failed because of the mixed messages they have sent to the public and lax enforcement of SOPs.

“Leaders themselves did not follow SOPs and even took pictures of themselves not following the SOPs.

“Members have sent me pictures of VIPs breaking SOPs and they want me to post it. But I too, am getting tired of being attacked everyday.”

He claimed low number of compounds were issued by the police and local authorities, while those who flout SOPs were mostly given verbal warnings.

“MCO that doesn’t seem like MCO and the more the number of new cases reported, the more activities are allowed.”

He said authorities have refused to disclose data of patient breakdown and the number of patients in level 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Walter said hospital usage breakdown and data on number of tests done in each district were also not available.

There is also no details of who are the 97,000 frontliners who will get vaccinated before other Sarawakians.

Walter said the government surrounded itself with “experts”, who don’t feel the pain of the private sector and they talk daily about protecting frontliners because it’s popular to do so, while forgetting there are 2.81 million other Sarawakians that need protection.

“So, they blame Sarawakians for not following SOPs and making the lives hard for frontliners.

“How many frontliners actually put on PPE and sweat in PPE clothing everyday? It’s less than a few thousand.”

He said tremendous respect must be given to the hardworking “real” frontliners, who are the healthcare workers in the Covid-19 wards, those who are taking swab test and those working at the Covid-19 Low-Risk Quarantine and Treatment Centres (PKRC).

But now, he said 97,000 people were registered as frontliners in Sarawak and will be the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccines when the Health Ministry staff in Sarawak is less than 24,000 and less than 20% were Covid-19 dedicated staff.

“Remember, we still have other diseases in Sarawak.

“So who are these 97,000 people? We would like to know why 97,000 people cannot even keep the cases down in Sarawak,” he said.