72-year-old from Kuching succumbs to Covid-19, death toll in Sarawak now at 17


KUCHING: After a week of no reported Covid-19 fatalities, the infectious disease has claimed another life in Sarawak today, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said the latest death involved a 72-year-old man from Kuching, who passed away today at 12.55pm.

“The victim first started suffering from a cough and fever on April 13 and when he went to the Sarawak Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan on April 16, he was diagnosed with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection,” he said at the daily Covid-19 press conference here today.

He said the victim was also given a Covid-19 test on the same day and the Real Time RT-PCR 2019 nCoV results from the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) lab on April 18 found him to be Covid-19 positive.

“The victim did not have any history of contact with any known cases of Covid-19,” said Uggah, who noted that the death toll in Sarawak now stands at 17.

On the number of positive Covid-19 cases, the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman said the state reported five new cases, all of which were from Kuching district.

“There are also 53 cases of persons-under-investigation (PUI) today whereas the number of PUI still awaiting test results are 40,” he added.

He also said that six cases have recovered and have been discharged from SGH.

Meanwhile, Uggah also touched on the ongoing active case detection operation at Taman Desa Ilmu and Taman Uni Garden in Kota Samarahan which the task force team had so far visited 2,288 houses while 820 houses were locked.

“The number of people who have been asked to undergo checks were 221 while 124 people have been screened,” he said, adding that there are still 97 identified close contacts who have yet to be screened.

He said based on the checks involving the number of positive and negative cases so far, the Samarahan Health Office is still collecting all samples and will be sending them to the Ministry of Health’s National Public Health Laboratory in Kuala Lumpur for testing.

“However, SDMC has decided that all samples taken today until the end of the operation will be processed in Kuching.

“This is so that we can get faster results because the commercial flights to Kuala Lumpur is very limited.”

He also said the active case detection operation for the past two days only enabled the task force team to reach out to about 20 per cent of residents living in the areas.

In this respect, Uggah said SDMC had decided to extend the operation at Taman Desa Ilmu by three days.

The operation at both areas had started on Tuesday and was initially scheduled to end today.