Sarawak’s Covid-19 SOPs ineffective and illogical, says DAP

Scene of empty restaurants during the MCO was common. – The Star photo.

By S. Harrish

THE Sarawak government’s SOPs for the MCO are ineffective, illogical and confusing, said State DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen.

He said that after four weeks of MCO by the government, there was no significant reduction in the infection rate.

When the MCO 3.0 started on June 1, there were 703 cases in Sarawak and four weeks later on June 28, it stood at 409.

Chong said Sarawak mostly remained one of the top three states with the highest new cases.

“In many countries, the people and businesses have gone back to the normal pre-pandemic ways of life.

“In the European Championship matches now ongoing, we can see that the stadiums are packed with football fans. In China, we can see a huge gathering at Tiananmen Square to celebrate the 100th year of the Chinese Communist Party. All need not wear masks anymore.

“Yet in Sarawak and Malaysia, we are still struggling with news cases, lockdowns and uncertainties. This only shows the failure of the Government in handling the pandemic.”

Chong said in a statement today that while SOPs were needed to contain the spread of the virus, it has been ineffective as they targeted the wrong sectors.

He said one of the sectors most affected by the current SOPs are coffee shops and small eateries because of the “no dine-in” policy.

“There has been no clusters from coffee shop dine-in but there were numerous clusters from the large factories.

“Yet, the SOPs allowed these factories to operate but not the coffee shops.”

Secondly, there was also no known cluster arising from sporting activities, but gyms were ordered to close and sports activities disallowed.

“We all know that exercise will boost one’s immunity system which is the key factor to survive the Covid-19 infection and many other sicknesses.

“To prevent the people from exercising actually works contrary to fighting the pandemic.”

Thirdly, Chong said half-baked SOPs by the State government was prolonging the hardship and pain of everyone.

“Most of those essential service sectors allowed to operate during the MCO 3.0 have found that their businesses dropped tremendously and could hardly cover the costs of operations.”

Fourthly, he said sectors prohibited under MCO 3.0 such as furniture industry, sports equipment shops, saloons, car wash centres, car accessory shops, attire shops, reflexology and wellness centres did not have clusters, yet they are closed.

“They were literally left high and dry with the ineffective, illogical and confusing SOPs,” he said, adding that the government should formulate a more practical and workable SOPs.