GEDONG, April 24 — Sarawak will be using its own funds to purchase the Paxlovid antiviral pills developed by Pfizer for Covid-19 treatment in the state, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said he had approved a special allocation to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to acquire the pills.

He however did not specify the amount allocated, but said that the amount of allocation would depend on the volume or order of those pills.

“The Sarawak government has decided that SDMC, upon discussions with the Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia, will purchase the pills from Pfizer. As we enter the endemic phase, the use of these Pfizer pills is allowed by MOH.

“That is why, for a start, I have decided that Sarawak to buy these pills for the treatment of our people. We would see what is the outcome, as at the moment (Covid-19 in Sarawak) is only mild and not so worrying.

“A special allocation will be given to the SDMC for this purpose,” he told reporters after closing the Jelajah Ramadan RTM Sarawak programme at Dewan Datuk Patinggi Ali here today.

In his speech, Abang Johari announced that he had directed the SDMC, headed by Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas as chairman and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian (advisor), to buy these antiviral pills from Pfizer for the use of Sarawakians.

“As we are now in the transition to the endemic phase, probably we do not need to be vaccinated anymore if we have the pills. It will be like ‘Panadol’ — when we have fever we consume the pill.

“But we wait for further instruction from MOH on the utilisation of these pills from Pfizer which are being acquired by our state government,” he said.

He pointed out that the Sarawak government so far has allocated a total RM5.8 billion to assist Sarawakians during the pandemic, and such financial assistance will continue.

He also hoped the people in Sarawak will continue to be vigilant and conduct their activities in a framework that can curb spread of Covid-19 during this transition to the endemic phase despite the much improved situation.

“With the cooperation from the relevant agencies, Sarawak has achieved success in managing Covid-19 infections,” he said.

It was earlier reported that on April 13, MOH allocated Sarawak with 2,400 doses out of the first shipment of Paxlovid pills which arrived in Malaysia.

Dr Sim, who is also Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government, said Sarawak intended to buy additional doses of Paxlovid antiviral pill for treatment of Covid-19 to complement those allocated by the MOH. — Borneo Post