Seal ‘jalan tikus’, mass testing to curb Covid-19 in rural Sarawak

By Emma Victoria

A RURAL health activist has urged the Sarawak government to act promptly to effectively curb the spread of Covid-19 in rural Sarawak.

Activist Agnes Padan said the state government should have instructed all the relevant enforcement divisions to strictly enforce the SOPs and block all “jalan tikus” leading into Sarawak, otherwise the rural communities will always be at risk.

She said there are several issues needed to be tackled in the rural areas, including proper healthcare systems, infrastructure, telecommunication, education and enforcement. All these are long-standing issues in rural Sarawak.

“Otherwise, it’s wishful thinking and lip service of the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg who wants a quick solution to stop Covid-19,” she said.

“There is also an urgent need for the government to put more effort to educate and raise awareness among the rural folks about the virus and how to prevent its spread,” she added.

On Saturday, Abang Johari expressed concern over the increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in rural areas, which could be “devastating” if the situation worsens.

He had called on all divisional disaster management committees to quickly find ways to stop the disease from spreading to more rural areas.

Meanwhile, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has urged the government to implement the MCO in a proper way with clear guidelines to ensure it can stop the spread effectively.

Otherwise, it will not achieve the purpose and only affect the economy and incomes of daily paid workers.

He also suggested mass screening using antigen rapid test kits (RTK-Ag) to detect positive cases and speed up contact tracing, quarantine and treatment.

Yii said this was important when there are cases involving longhouses in Sarawak – where many families live under one roof.