Refer to disaster committee before speaking on Covid-19, Uggah tells agencies

Sarawak disaster management committee chairman Douglas Uggah Embas said a person was only considered a patient under investigation (PUI) if he had been in close contact with a positive case. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: The Sarawak disaster management committee has urged all government and private agencies to refer to the committee before making any official statement on Covid-19.

Its chairman, Douglas Uggah Embas, said at a press conference today this was to avoid any confusion and fear among the public.

In addition, he clarified a report that 16 patients under investigation (PUI) were recorded in Miri today.

Earlier today, Miri mayor Adam Yii had called for swift countermeasures following the sudden hike in PUI cases in the district over the past 24 hours.

“The number of sudden new PUI cases is high. This is a worrying development. I will get my enforcement teams to liaise with the police and Health Department to go to the ground and enforce social distancing very strictly without any delay.

“The city council has also issued written directives to food outlets on the compulsory wearing of face masks and for all vital hygiene measures to be observed,” Yii had said.

Uggah said: “When PUI cases were recorded in Miri, the people assumed a positive case had been detected in the district. This is not true.

“In fact, these are severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI) patients. This is just part of the hospital’s protocol to get these patients tested for the virus as a precautionary measure,” he said.

According to Uggah, there were 11 SARI and ILI patients in Kuching as well as seven in Bintulu but they were not classified as PUI cases.

“Therefore, I would like to urge the health authorities in Miri to follow the definition of PUI in Kuching and Bintulu,” he added.

A person was only considered a PUI if he had been in close contact with a positive case, he explained.

On a related matter, Uggah said the authorities had done random contact tracing at several places following the latest death of a Covid-19 patient on July 11.

“A total of 217 screenings were done at the Stutong community market and two persons have shown symptoms of the virus. A total of 56 samples were taken from the area.

“Screenings will be done at the Green Road fresh market tomorrow as well as other major markets in town over the next two weeks,” he said.

Earlier, he said the state had recorded a local transmission case, involving a non-Malaysian citizen in Kuching, pushing the total number of positive cases to 584.

The patient, a worker at a fishing company in Kuching, had undergone a Covid-19 test at a private hospital on July 15 and tested positive for the virus on the same day, he said.

“The patient, who is asymptomatic, has been admitted to the Sarawak General Hospital for treatment,” he said, adding that the patient did not have any travel history.

“Authorities are currently doing contact tracing among his colleagues,” he added.

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