Hand-foot-mouth-disease situation under control, says Wong

SIBU: Minister of Local Government and Community Development Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh yesterday assured that the hand-foot-mouth-disease (HFMD) situation in the state is under control, thus there is no cause for alarm.

Wong was asked to comment on the HFMD situation in Sarawak, which had reached epidemic level in Miri and Sibu divisions.

“It is periodical and looks like once every three years, we experience an uptrend, but it is no cause for alarm; it is under control,” he told reporters after launching Sibu Municipal Council’s (SMC) ‘A Day With Customers’ at the lobby of Wisma Sanyan here.

The event was themed, ‘We Are Ready To Listen and Help’.

Asked on the spike in the number of cases in Miri and Sibu, he figured this could be due to the wet spell.

Wong, who is also Second Finance Minister, added: “I suppose people as a whole know what to do and they have to help themselves before we can help them. This is important.”

On precautionary measures, he assured that this was being done all the time to keep the disease under control.

According to the media report, Miri recorded 564 cases and Sibu 342 cases from the beginning of this year till Feb 23, making them the hardest hit.

Following this, the state Health Department had intensified screening in nurseries and kindergartens state-wide to contain the contagious HFMD.

The department had also urged teachers and caretakers to screen children before letting off from schools.

Meanwhile, in his speech earlier, SMC chairman and Lanang MP Datuk Tiong Thai King said the council envisioned itself to be a progressive and community-focused local authority.

They pledged to work closely and engage local communities to make Sibu a better place to live, work and play.

“Community involvement in local government decision-making is an important aspect of good governance. Community involvement is also becoming more and more important to local councils as we recognise communities as an asset that can assist and enable local councils to achieve outcomes that benefit greatly from local knowledge and partnership development,” Tiong said.

He added due to their close rapport with the various associations, NGOs and neighbourhood committees, Sibu had 23 smart partnership projects in the form of parks, landmark and facilities being established for the past 13 years.

This, he said, was a living evidence of the cohesive community spirit that existed in Sibu today.

He assured that the council would do its level best to meet the communities’ expectations within their means and constraints by setting the correct priorities in the wake of increasing scope and maintenance costs for local infrastructure, facilities and services.

A total of 11 booths had been set up, comprising all sections of SMC, including a counter for the public to voice their complaints, requests and suggestions.

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