Sarawakians who returned to villages before travel ban need to be screened

By S. Harrish

SARAWAK Suhakam has urged the state government to collaborate with the village security and development committee (JKKK) or village heads to identify those who had returned to their villages before the inter-district travel ban.

Sarawak Human Rights Commissioner Madeline Berma told FreeMalaysiaToday that the state government should send medical teams to these villages and perform screening among the villagers there.

“You can’t expect them to go to the hospital in town for Covid-19 screening or tests.”

She said some had returned to their villages for the school holidays on March 13. The state government’s inter-district travel ban was only imposed on March 29.

She warned the virus could spread very fast since the majority of the Dayaks in the rural areas lived in a close-knit community in longhouses and shared common amenities.

“There’s no containment in the interior and who is there to check? Access to information is also limited. I believe they might not even be aware of social distancing,” she said.

According to her, the rural clinics had limited facilities and staff were also not equipped with any personal protective equipment (PPE).