Border posts in Sarawak to be closed except those with Brunei, Kalimantan

Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg (centre) warns of stiff penalties against those spreading unverified news on Covid-19.

KUCHING: Border posts in Sarawak are to be closed with immediate effect to prevent further spread of Covid-19, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said today.

He said only the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complexes (CIQs) between Sarawak and Brunei – at Sungai Tujuh, Tedungan, Pandaruan and Mengkalap – would be open from 6am to 8pm.

The CIQs between Sarawak and Kalimantan – at Tebedu, Biawak and Lubok Antu – would be open between 9am and 3pm.

“This is in line with the opening hours agreed with Brunei and Indonesia.

“The government is enlisting the help of the military with immediate effect to enforce the movement control order (MCO) at border posts and the rural areas,” he said at a press conference here today.

The MCO is an exercise to contain the spread of the virus as it can affect the health and safety of every individual if left uncontrolled.

Abang Johari said the Covid-19 hotspots in Sarawak were Kuching, Serian, Betong, Sarikei, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang.

As of yesterday, Sarawak had recorded 714 persons under investigation (PUI), with 58 of them testing positive for the virus. Only one death due to the virus was reported in the state.

“The severity and seriousness of the Covid-19 problem must not be underestimated,” Abang Johari said.

Therefore, the state government would collaborate with private hospitals in the state with regards to screening and testing of the Covid-19 infection.

So far, he said discussions had been held with the Borneo Medical Centre, Timberland Medical Centre, KPJ and Normah Medical Specialist Centre.

On face masks, Abang Johari said the state government is looking into importing them directly from China to ensure there are sufficient stocks in the state.

He said Sarawak’s economic aid package to combat the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak and assistance for small businesses will be announced on Monday.

Towards this end, he urged members of the public not to spread unverified or fake news on Covid-19 as they faced severe penalties for doing so.

Those spreading unverified or fake news on Covid-19 can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed for up to two years, or both, under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.