PSB leader urges caution in transitioning Sarawak from pandemic to endemic stage

Datuk John Lau feels that the authorities ought to be extra careful before moving Sarawak from pandemic to endemic. — Borneo Post pic
Datuk John Lau feels that the authorities ought to be extra careful before moving Sarawak from pandemic to endemic. — Borneo Post pic

KUCHING, Sept 19 — Authorities in the state are urged not to rush Sarawak from the pandemic to endemic stage in light of the increasing number of Covid-19 positive cases.

In making this appeal yesterday, Parti Sarawak Bersatu’s (PSB) potential candidate for Kota Sentosa Datuk John Lau said the community remained very concerned about the increasing infections in the state.

“For July, there were 11,877 cases. Last month, there were 39,830 cases, and in the first 17 days of this month, there were 57,594 cases.

“The weekly Covid-19 deaths have also increased in the week of Aug 16 to 22, from 17 deaths to 52 deaths in the week of Aug 30 to Sept 5. And it increased to 59 Covid-19 deaths in the following week,” he said in a statement.

Lau felt that the authorities ought to be extra careful before moving Sarawak from pandemic to endemic.

According to him, Sarawakians are very concerned about people from Peninsular Malaysia coming to Sarawak without going through quarantine.

“What they need is to have a rt-PCR test three days prior to arrival in Kuching. The rt-PCR result during the test may be negative. The traveller could be having asymptomatic hypoxia or silent hypoxaemia, a day after the rt-PCR test.

“As the rt-PCR result showed that the person is negative and has been fully vaccinated, the person is allowed to enter Sarawak and does not need quarantine,” he said.

Lau said the average incubation period from exposure to PCR positive for Delta variants is 3.81 days, the interval between PCR positive and emergency symptoms or presymptomatic duration in Delta infection is 1.8 days.

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Because of this, he said, the time of exposure to symptoms would take an average of 5.5 days.

“Let’s say, the traveller stays in Sarawak for seven days; he will be transmitting coronavirus from day 3 to day 4 of his stay in Sarawak.

“Based on these assumptions, it is very unwise not to quarantine visitors from the Peninsular Malaysia. It is suggested that anyone visiting Sarawak, either on business or social visits, undergo quarantine on arrival in Sarawak,” he added.

Moving forward to the endemic era, Lau said decisions must be based on scientific evidence and data.

“Decisions based on mood will defeat the purpose and the virus will not stop infecting us. We need to isolate visitors on arrival in Sarawak for a specific number of days, subject to medical certification,” he stressed.

As such, he urged the authorities not to rush Sarawak from pandemic to endemic given that life is precious although economy is also important.

“With life, we can take the economy to greater heights but not otherwise,” he added.

On Sept 15, Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) said fully vaccinated individuals entering Sarawak from Peninsular Malaysia will no longer be required to undergo mandatory quarantine, effective Sept 16.

“Those who have been fully vaccinated are still required to apply for entry to Sarawak via EnterSarawak and fill up the eHealth Declaration Form (eHDF).

“They are also required to attach proof of their ‘fully vaccinated’ status, negative Covid-19 rt-PCR test result (valid for three days only) and other relevant personal information,” added SDMC. — Borneo Post

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