KUCHING, Feb 4 — Twenty-four people, including 17 Malaysians, have been cleared of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) after their blood samples tested negative, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.
The others are seven from China and one from Thailand, he added.
He said the test results of another eight, consisting of seven Malaysians and a China national, are still pending.
He said most of these 32 people had visited China in the last 14 days.
Uggah, who is also the state Disaster Management Committee chairman, advised those with flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and a high fever to immediately seek medical treatment.
He said blood samples from suspected coronavirus cases in Sarawak can now be tested at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), instead of the Institute Medical Research (IMR) in Kuala Lumpur, as was previously done.
He said tests on the samples started yesterday.
This follows the purchase of Rapid Diagnostic Testing Kits (RDTKs) by the state government for SGH.
“As of yesterday, blood samples will no longer be sent to IMR because we have the machines at SGH,” he said, adding that test results can be obtained within 24 to 36 hours.
Uggah said the state government is in the process of getting RDTKs for Sibu, Bintulu and Miri hospitals.
“At the moment, the samples from these three hospitals are being sent to SGH for testing,” he said.
Uggah added the state government is buying thermal scanners and thermo guns for the Sibu, Bintulu and Miri airports.
“We have also decided to choose the Public Health College at Kota Sentosa at KM7 Kuching-Serian road as a quarantine centre in case there is a big group of people suspected to have contracted the coronavirus,” he said.
He said the facilities at the college are being prepared to receive such cases.
He also said the state Disaster Management Committee will make random checks on people who are in self-quarantine at home.
“We want to know their health status,” he said, adding that those who have been to China in the last 14 days must self-quarantine for two weeks.
Uggah said the 16 travellers who were barred from entering the state after they were found to be in China in the last 14 days, have been sent back to their last point of disembarkation.