Essential Services Excused From Quarantine: Sarawak DCM

Douglas Uggah Embas also says the Miring group ritual will be allowed during Gawai, although house visits are prohibited.

KUCHING, May 27 — Selected services that require travelling between Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak are exempted from mandatory quarantine, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said today.

In response to reports that Sarawak Members of Parliament who attended the one-day Parliament meeting back on May 18 were exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine, Uggah, at a press conference today, said that he will look into it.

He further explained that the state government considers selected services to be essential services that are excused from the 14-day mandatory quarantine and noted that these individuals would be screened for Covid-19, and said that he tested three times himself.

“We have procedure(s) whereby some of the services (are) considered as essential services. For example, our judge or magistrate, some of our civil servants, some of our senior government officers, some of the ministers who have to carry out duties to Kuala Lumpur and back.

“These are essential services, they don’t have to be quarantined, they will be excused,” said Uggah.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday said that Covid-19 patients will be discharged after two weeks of treatment according to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) new protocol, because the chances of those patients infecting others after 14 days is “almost zero”, as cited by The Malaysian Insight.

When asked to comment on MOH’s new protocol, Uggah said that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has decided to leave the discharge decision in the hands of doctors who are treating those Covid-19 patients.

“We had a long discussion on this matter this morning during the SDMC meeting, because Sarawak’s scenario is slightly different — some of the patients possibly from deep into interior Sarawak and to the coastal area and et cetera.

“We are leaving that decision to our expert doctors to decide, and they may also look at homes, the (state) of the homes that patients return to. If the house is only 500 square feet and has six to seven people living inside, I’m sure the doctor will take into consideration whether it is comfortable for the patient to come back and join the family.

“The decision we leave it to our doctors and hospitals in Sarawak,” Uggah explained.

Uggah also reported that the public’s compliance to the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) during the recent Raya celebration was very high as no cases of violations were reported, including inter-district travels.

Despite the high rates of compliance to CMCO, SDMC continued to stress that house-to-house and longhouse-to-longhouse visitations are forbidden during the upcoming Gawai celebration on June 1, however, rituals such as the Miring ceremonies will be allowed. The Miring ceremony is a group ritual performed to honor the “petara” or gods, spirits, and ancestors to seek success.

As for the rabies epidemic within the state, Uggah noted that the state authorities are still monitoring the situation, and that tests on stray dogs are still ongoing. He further reported that a child in Kuching was bitten by a dog today but did not provide further details.

Sarawak today reported three new Covid-19 cases of which two were in Kuching, and one in Samarahan district. The total cumulative Covid-19 cases in Sarawak as of today is at 552. There are currently 219 Persons-Under-Investigation in the state, of which 187 results are pending.

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