Sarawak’s Sentosa cluster started from communal activities

Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

THE Health Ministry’s preliminary investigations into Sarawak’s Sentosa cluster showed it was highly likely the infection started from “activities in the community”.

As of noon yesterday, a total of 1,026 people had been screened and the cluster involved cases up to the second generation, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said, adding that 31 tested positive for Covid-19 while 888 were negative, and results for 107 others were pending.

Of the 1,026 screened, 17 medical staff and one patient tested positive.

Four other infections came from security guards and staff of a cleaning company.

The Sarawak General Hospital laboratory has the capacity to carry out 1,000 tests daily.

“An additional 100 from the Sarawak Heart Institute, 500 from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and 150 from the Borneo Medical Centre can be obtained if needed,” he said as reported by The Star.

On current statistics, the country has recorded 13 new Covid-19 cases, with five recoveries. Eight of the 13 cases were imported.

Of the five new local infections, two were from Sarawak – one each from the Sentosa and Mambong clusters.

Sarawak will delay the reopening of schools in Kuching and its neighbouring Padawan and Samarahan districts by another two weeks to mid-August.

This comes after Kuching turned into a Covid-19 red zone again with 52 local transmissions reported in the last 14 days.

The state disaster management committee said schools in the three districts, which earlier had their reopening postponed from July 15 to Aug 3, would now resume classes on Aug 17.

“The postponement involves Transition, Forms One to Four, Lower Six and Years One to Six in 213 schools.

“Preschool, Form Five and Upper Six classes will go on as usual,” the committee said yesterday.

The decision to postpone reopening was made based on advice from the state Health Department and National Security Council, and was agreed to by the state Education Department, the committee said.

Sarawak reported two new cases yesterday, one each in Kuching and Serian districts, taking the state’s tally to 677.

Amid concern over the spike in cases, people in Kuching are calling for strict adherence to the standard operating procedure (SOP).

Brooke Gallery manager Liza Sideni said it was important for everyone to observe the SOP and not become complacent in the fight against the pandemic.

She welcomed the committee’s measures of imposing inter-zone travel restrictions and shorter business hours in Kuching, Samarahan and Serian from Aug 1–14 as a way to keep the public on their toes.

“Coupled with stricter measures like police roadblocks or on-the-spot fines, that could help curb the spread too,” she said.

“These methods may sound excessive but sometimes we have no choice but to go with the less popular option to make people more aware,” she said.