KUCHING, April 17 — Experts have predicted that the number of Covid-19 cases in Sarawak will see an upward trend in June, July and August following the Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak celebrations, said Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

The Deputy Premier of Sarawak and Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister said Sarawakians must therefore continue to bear with the current situation by strictly complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs), one of which is the mandatory wearing of face mask.

He pointed out that even though the Covid-19 Omicron variant has been described as mild, it is highly transmissible and Covid-19 is not just any common flu.

Given this, Dr Sim said the community still has to wear a face mask especially when individuals are indoors where ventilation is poor, and in crowded places.

“People in Sydney and Melbourne are no longer required to use a face mask but they record over 10,000 new cases and 30 deaths from Covid-19 daily,” he said during Kuching South Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng’s weekly Shall WEE Talk Facebook live session yesterday.

Dr Sim pointed out that Sarawakians have had a long fight against the pandemic and they would not want to see 30 pandemic deaths daily after an over two-year struggle.

At present, he said Sarawak’s Covid-19 fatality rate is the lowest in the country.

“This is all because people give their full co-operation in adhering to the SOPs including wearing a face mask and sanitising or washing their hands frequently.”

He reminded all that the bodies of those who died from Covid-19 have to be wrapped in a three-layer plastic bag and their families would not have a chance to see them for the last time.

Meanwhile, Dr Sim said Sarawak has been allocated 2,400 treatment courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug Paxlovid, and with the predicted rising number of cases from June, the state may need 3,800 of such treatment courses.

He added that each treatment course costs RM1,500.

“Compared to the oral drug, wearing of a face mask and hand-sanitising would be better,” he said.

On another issue, Dr Sim said it is not likely for the authorities to impose strict SOPs for this coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai celebrations.

“We cannot do what Shanghai is doing now, confining people at their homes. Not only will our economy collapse, but our children will not be able to go to school.

“Our children missed school for almost two years and it is time for them to go back to school. The virus will not go away and we need to learn to live with it,” added Dr Sim. — Borneo Post