KUCHING (Apr 11): The mandatory quarantine for all travellers to Sarawak will only be lifted once the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) sees fit to do so, its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said.
He said the state will continue to impose quarantine for travellers in view that a majority of Sarawak’s Covid-19 cases had arose from import cases.
“One such example is the Pasai Cluster in Sibu, which has resulted in more than 3,000 cases so far. Even until today, we still detected positive cases from import cases such as today’s Import A and Import B case.
“If we don’t quarantine travellers who enter Sarawak, those who are Covid-19 positive will be able to walk freely among the community and then spread the virus to others.
“If we don’t control the spread of disease, the condition will be worse,” he told a press conference.
He was responding to a question on whether the state would consider lifting or reducing the number of days for mandatory quarantine in view that there were cases of families who have been separated for a long time due to the pandemic.
Uggah, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said that the state sympathises with those who have been affected but urged the people to try and understand the situation.
“We are not trying to create problems but this standard operating procedure is necessary to protect Sarawakians. It is not to discriminate and to stop families from meeting each other.
“That is why there are certain procedures that has to be followed because what we are all facing now is the new norm in this very difficult time,” he said.
Nevertheless, he gave his assurance that the mandatory quarantine would be lifted once the situation permits.
“There will be at time when we feel that it is no longer necessary for those entering Sarawak to undergo the mandatory quarantine. But this all depends on the Covid-19 situation within Sarawak as well as the country,” he said.
Also present were Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and State Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing.
SDMC recently updated its Covid-19 Guidelines to Enter Sarawak which required all non-Sarawakians and non-Malaysians who have been in the country for more than 15 days to request approval to enter Sarawak via West Malaysia by filling in the EnterSarawak and E-Health Declaration Form.
They are also required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at designated quarantine centres where swab tests will be taken on the second and tenth day of quarantine.
Their applications may also be rejected if the documentation is incomplete or if they cannot provide a strong reason for travel.