Tuesday, December 7

SDMC: Total lockdown for Covid-19 hot spots in Kuching not necessary yet unless situation warrants it

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File photo showing a police roadblock during this MCO. SDMB has said that for now, a total lockdown is unnecessary in Covid-19 hotspots but will be enforced should the situation warrant it.

KUCHING: The Sarawak government may look into the possibility of enforcing Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) or ‘total lockdown’ at certain hot spots in Kuching district where the number of Covid-19 positive cases are high.

“If certain areas need to be in total lockdown, and if the situation warrants it, we will do it. But so far we have not reached that level yet,” said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at a press conference today.

Although Kuching has been designated as a red zone (Covid-19 positive cases more than 40), he said the situation was still under control and people are being constantly reminded to stay at home during this current MCO period.

Abdul Karim mentioned these when deputising Deputy Chief Minister and Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas for the daily update on Covid-19.

He was asked if there are any plans by Sarawak to enforce ECMO due to rising number of Covid-19 positive cases.

The SDMC Secretariat on Thursday had released the 11 locations in Kuching which were identified as Covid-19 hot spots.

Kampung Datuk Ibrahim Majid and Bandar Baharu Datuk Ibrahim Majid in Simpang Renggam, Johor were the first two areas in Malaysia to be placed under the EMCO recording 61 Covid-19 positive cases.

Under the EMCO there from March 27 to April 9, all residents and people who are already in the two areas are not allowed to leave while nobody is allowed to enter.

All business activities in the two areas were ordered to be closed while all entrances into the areas would also be closed.

A medical base has also been opened while food and other essential items will be supplied to residents by the Welfare Department.

Earlier while briefing the media, Abdul Karim had mentioned that southern region Sarawak now has the state’s highest Covid-19 cases, particularly in Kuching and Samarahan Divisions.

He pointed out this was due to proximity of the two divisions, whereby there are still a lot of movement of people especially from Samarahan to Kuching during this MCO period due to the work factor and the need to buy essentials in Kuching.

“There are not many road options for Kuching – Samarahan route. And the road (Kota Samarahan Expressway) usually has high traffic, even after 7pm these days, probably because they work in shifts in the essential services sector.

“But we cannot be too strict because many are staying in Samarahan but working in Kuching. However, we want to advise those who are not working in essential sector, to stay at home and don’t go out unnecessarily,” he said.

On a related matter, he said the the police had arrested 32 people who had flouted the MCO yesterday (April 3).

They comprise of eight individuals in Miri, four in Kuching, three in Kota Samarahan, two in Bau, one in Padawan, one in Bintulu and one in Serian.

He also said a total 26 were charged in court yesterday (April 3). Sibu had the most cases with 12.

This was followed by Miri (4), Lubok Antu (3), Padawan (2), Song (2), Bintulu (1), Kanowit (1) and Matu Daro (1).

He also reminded Sarawakians that effective tomorrow (April 5), those returning from overseas must be quarantined at the quarantine centres based on their respective landing situations in the state.