Wednesday, June 16

Covid-19: Sarawak’s homeless to be included in vaccination programme

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A Welfare Department staff member helps to register a homeless man (right) for vaccination as Fatimah looks on at left.

SIBU: The Ministry of Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development will ensure Sarawak’s Covid-19 vaccination programme will also include the homeless.

Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said that they have the profiles, location, and information of the homeless across Sarawak gathered through rescue operations carried out this year.

She said her ministry will cooperate with various parties to help register the homeless for Covid-19 vaccination.

“The homeless people are among those likely to be left out because they do not know where and how to register for the programme. So, it is our responsibility to help them to register,” she said today before inspecting upgrading work at Rumah Maksak Sibu, which will be used as the Sibu Homeless Transit Point (TTG).

Fatimah said that Welfare Department, assisted by the Sibu Resident’s Office, had registered 22 homeless people in the division for the vaccination programme so far.

Similar efforts are being carried out in other divisions, she said without disclosing the number of homeless registered elsewhere for vaccination.

Earlier, she said 64 homeless people had been rescued during 30 operations in eight divisions throughout Sarawak.

Last year, the ministry rescued 237 homeless people through 83 operations in 11 divisions.

For the homeless without MyKads, she said the ministry would appeal to the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH) not to exclude them.

“It will be a long process if we wait for them to get their MyKad. So we’ll register them first as a group.

“The MoH will decide whether to include this group under the second or third phase of vaccination,” she said.

On Sibu TTG, she said the project costing RM457,000 commenced on Jan 31 and is expected to be completed in August.

“The place will serve as a temporary shelter for the homeless people to clean themselves, eat, and sleep at night.

“It will be able to accommodate 40 individuals at one time when completed,” she said.