Sarawak still recording deaths due to Covid-19, says Deputy Premier

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Dr Sim shows his printed speech to reporters before his turn for the ministerial winding-up at the DUN sitting. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Nov 29): Sarawak is still recording deaths due to Covid-19 this year, with the total number of deaths standing at 1,793 as of Nov 18, says Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Sim Kui Hian.

The Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister stated this in his winding-up speech in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting yesterday.

Moreover, he said as of Nov 18 this year, a total of 328,256 Covid-19 cases had been reported in Sarawak, since the first case was reported on March 13, 2020.

However, he also said 325,330 cases, or about 99.11 per cent from the total, had recovered from the infection.

“The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) utilisation rate for Covid-19 is minimal with occasional admissions since Epidemiological Week 25 (mid-June 2023). Therefore, the hospital has sufficient capacity to cover current needs,” he said.

On rabies, Dr Sim described the number of cases involving humans as ‘worrying’.

He added that there were 72 cases of rabies involving humans, with 17 of them reported up to November this year, in comparison with 14 cases last year, and 10 cases in 2021.

“Until now, there are only seven people who survived the disease since the outbreak,” he said.

Adding on, Dr Sim said from July 1, 2017 to Nov 18 this year, the Sarawak Health Department had received 94,307 animal bite reports.

This year alone, he said, a total of 14,394 animal bites were reported, translating into an average of 350 cases a week, or 50 cases a day.

As part of efforts to reduce the number of rabies cases involving humans, the Sarawak Health Department had increased the number of ‘post-bite’ clinics from 31 facilities to 107 facilities as at June this year, all equipped with anti-rabies vaccines.

”This includes 78 Federal Ministry of Health facilities and 29 private facilities, while the Sarawak Health Department has just approved 41 more health clinics to operate as post bite clinics.

“We expect the service to be carried out at the end of this year, as soon as training is given to staff and vaccine stocks are supplied,” he said.

In other developments, Dr Sim also informed that Malaysia was now facing an increase in dengue cases, and Sarawak ‘is no exception’.

Dr Sim added that as at Nov 18 this year, a total of 854 dengue cases were reported in Sarawak versus 594 cases registered in the same period last year – representing an increase of 43.8 per cent.

“The Sarawak Health Department will continue to work closely with other agencies in Sarawak to reduce and prevent dengue cases,” he said.