Thursday, October 22

Sarawak ready to help Sabah fight Covid-19 if MKN calls, says Uggah

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An aerial view of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s capital. – File picture

KUCHING (Oct 14): Sarawak is ready to help neighbouring Sabah deal with Covid-19 if there is any instruction from the National Security Council (MKN), said State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said that while the state was prepared to help Sabah, which has been placed under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) after it saw a huge surge in cases recently, Sarawak must also continue to protect itself in the pandemic.

“All movements in Sabah are under the management of the MKN. If there is any instruction from MKN, SDMC is ready to help but at the same time we must also protect ourselves.

“Nobody can predict what is going to happen tomorrow, so Sarawak must be prepared,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 updates today when asked if there had been any discussion about helping Sabah.

Uggah, who is a deputy chief minister, pointed out that Sarawak was upgrading its testing capacity for Covid-19.

“At the moment, we are doing about 2,000 (tests) a day. We hope to increase it to 3,000 and our objective is to see that the result will come out within 24 hours,” he said.

Uggah also informed that the state was strengthening its contact tracing team to ensure that close contacts can be identified and tested in a speedy manner.

“This is one of the strategies to make sure that we can curb the spread of the disease and contain it. Those are the strategies we are now planning to prepare Sarawak,” he said.

On Sunday, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) would be mobilised to make daily flights from Sabah to peninsula to ferry thousands of swab test samples of suspected Covid-19 carriers.

He said the decision to deploy the air force followed appeal for help, as the small number of laboratories in the state could no longer handle the volume of samples that have been coming in.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Health Department deputy director Dr Rosemawati Ariffin said Sarawak had so far sent 19 of its medical staff to Sabah.

She said they included medical officers, nurses and assistant medical officers.

“We will wait for any request from Sabah via the Ministry of Health, as we sent them by instruction from the ministry. We will see whether there is a need to send more staff over,” she said.