No racial bias in imposing lockdowns, says Sibu disaster management committee coordinator

Annuar said any decision to impose lockdowns was not based on racial composition of the targeted localities but based on advice from Ministry of Health. — Borneo Post Online
Annuar said any decision to impose lockdowns was not based on racial composition of the targeted localities but based on advice from Ministry of Health. — Borneo Post Online

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SIBU, March 4 — There is no discrimination in enforcing lockdown on targeted localities here by Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee (SDDMC).

SDDMC coordinator Dr Annuar Rapaee said any decision to impose lockdowns was not based on racial composition of the targeted localities but based on advice from Ministry of Health (MoH) and data of Covid-19 cases in that particular area.

He said in Sibu they had imposed enhanced movement control order (EMCO) on Sibujaya flats and Townvilla housing and Sentosa Timur Phase 2 settlement, closed Sibu Central Market for three weeks and the latest conducting targeted Active Case Detection (ACD) for Zone Tiong Hua starting yesterday.

He said he felt compelled to address this issue because some people questioned the authorities’ decision to conduct ACD in Zone Tiong Hua rather than enforcing lockdown.

“They accused the authorities feared because this is Chinese area. Despite its name, Bumiputera contributed 62 per cent of positive cases in Zone Tiong Hua and they are tenants in the area.

“If we imposed lockdown there, these people will run away from the area and they could infect others outside.

“This is the reason we do not use lockdown but we used different approach here by conducting screening.

“It is not because this is Chinese or Malay or Iban area. Do not get wrong perception on this matter,” he said during a Facebook live streaming yesterday.

Slamming those playing up racial sentiment on the matter, Dr Annuar said that 81 per cent of Chinese traders were affected when the authorities closed Sibu Central Market for three weeks.

He explained the closure of the market for a week from Feb 8 to 14 was following advice from the MOH after a high number of Covid-19 cases were detected among the traders.

A total of 101 positive cases or equal to 8.12 per cent positivity rate were detected from first round of swab tests conducted on 1,250 market traders.

“The positivity rate was much higher than the rate set by World Health Organisation.

“So we extended the closure for another week and conduct another round of screening and detected seven more positive cases from 859 samples.

“We decided to reopen the market with strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place on March 1 after positivity rate gone down to 0.82 per cent,” he said.

He said only 100 traders out of 1,000 were allowed to run their businesses after the market reopened.

On another matter, he said that the government had spent RM1.6 million for food assistance for Sibujaya residents affected by the EMCO.

He said a total of 1,726 families had received 16,542 packs of food assistance distributed by Welfare Department. — Borneo Post

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