KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today spelt out measures through which the Covid-19 outbreak can be contained in Sarawak, stressing on individual responsibilities and compliance as key solutions.
At a press conference in Sarawak where he is currently on an official trip, Khairy spelt out three points: Compliance, community empowerment and individual responsibility.
He said that taking cue from the efforts done under the Greater Klang Valley Special Task Force to address the Covid-19 outbreak before, the measures would now be implemented in Sarawak, which has been struggling to cope with high infection cases.
“There are a few lessons from the Greater Klang Valley whereby we managed to reduce cases quickly, which we will practise in Sarawak also and this focuses on doing tests quickly and isolating those who are found to be positive, quickly.
“That is why in Sarawak now, we take it that those who test positive either from the self-test RTK kits or those done in laboratories or those done by oneself is enough for us to isolate, and we give them the Home Surveillance Order (HSO). No need to wait for the RT-PCR (test) and all that. We do the RTK and immediately isolate and we isolate and also give the HSO to their close contacts and family members.
“It is very important that we inform the people, especially in Sarawak here, when there are any symptoms that we know is linked to Covid-19, conduct the RTK-Antigen test quickly, when you find yourself to be positive, isolate yourself. This is the best way and this is the most effective way for us to cut the transmission. Test quickly on yourselves and isolate,” he said, adding that the first line of defence against the virus is each and every individual.
He said that the MOH would also boost the virtual Covid-19 assessment centre (CAC) to enable one to obtain the digital HSO.
Khairy said that the MOH would also be able detect those who violate their HSO and inform the police to have action taken against them.
He said that the vaccination programme also needs to be ramped up, especially for teenagers, adding that Sarawak has already achieved a “rather good” coverage.
The Rembau MP said that 78 per cent of those residing in Sarawak aged between 16 and 17 years old have already received at least one dose, adding that this group was given priority as they needed to get back to school owing to their examination.
“So this is a good achievement and after this we will give attention to those between 12 and 17 years old. To date, all of the teenagers aged between 12 and 17 years old have received at least their first dose. So this immunisation programme must be continued.
“Sarawak will start disbursing booster shots in October and we will give focus on those who are in the high risk category , who are aged 65 and above and who have serious comorbidities, because we find that this is the group now, that is having serious symptoms in hospitals, who need to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), or those who are among the deceased,” he said.
Khairy added that the booster jabs would be given out after guidelines and clinical guidelines on the matter are finalised.
“So Sarawak will be one of the first states which will start the booster dose programme because they were one of the states to finish the vaccination programme,” he said.
Khairy added that the MOH has also approved 30 more ambulances for Sarawak which lacks the said facility and the vehicles will be acquired soon.