Tuesday, December 6

Covid-19: One new positive case recorded in Sarawak today

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KUCHING: Sarawak recorded one new positive Covid-19 case today involving a student who returned from East Java, Indonesia.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the initial test on the student was negative for the virus, and he was then put under person-under-surveillance (PUS) quarantine at Pullman Hotel here.

Uggah said after completing his 14-day PUS quarantine and his last test still returned negative for the virus, the student was allowed to return to his hometown in Sibu to undergo 14 days of home quarantine.

However, he was tested positive during his home quarantine, and was admitted to the Sibu Hospital today for treatment.

“Before he was to be discharged from his home quarantine, he was tested first. But after that test he was found to be positive (of Covid-19).

“I’m not a doctor and I cannot argue over this issue, but looks like it (his incubation period) is more than 14 days,” Uggah explained.

Asked if this will be a worrying trend where the student may have infected people along his journey back to Sibu, Uggah said the virus is still new and there are still many things unknown about it.

“This is a new phenomenon and this new experience will help us to formulate new policies (to deal with this kind of case). Like in Betong we have two relapse cases in the hospital. Tested twice, negative. Then after returning back for further home quarantine, then tested again after some time found both of them relapse (positive).

“So this is also something new that we are learning, and with that we hope to be able to come up with certain policies to avoid such circumstances,” he said.

Asked when will SDMC be able to come up with a policy to deal with relapse of over 14 days incubation period, Uggah said policy making to battle the pandemic is ongoing all the time and they would need advice from medical experts on the best way to handle this situation.

“Because the basic principle is to try to avoid the chain of infection into the society. So we must pray. We are now waiting for the experts to advise us,” he said.

Meanwhile Minister of Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian explained that because of such case, the policy for Sarawak was to place PUS under home quarantine even after they have completed their 14-days quarantine in hotels despite showing negative results.

“One case I read the incubation period was up to 27 days. We in Sarawak cannot quarantine everybody returning from outside for 27 days. We would need thousands and thousands of hotel rooms for that, and there would not be enough to accommodate all the PUS,” he said.

He said as such, SDMC came up with a policy where everybody needs to wear face masks at all times when outside, even though they are healthy.

“Covid-19 is only six months old. So the policy will always change and be updated. We need to see the trend of cases like this (Sibu positive) first before we can make any decision on policy,” Dr Sim added.

Meanwhile, 16 cases have recovered and discharged in the state today where 14 are from Sarawak General Hospital and two from Sibu Hospital.

Sarawak recorded 137 active cases today, with one being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of SGH.

A total of 45 new PUS have been recorded today, making the total of PUS cases being quarantined in hotels around the state at 3,609 as of today.