Planned Public Events To Go Ahead As Scheduled, Precautio

August 11, 2009 20:44 PM

Planned Public Events To Go Ahead As Scheduled, Precautions Taken

KUCHING, Aug 11 (Bernama) – Public events that are already planned will be held as scheduled with the necessary precautionary measures being taken in view of the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, which has claimed four lives in Sarawak so far, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said Tuesday.

Dr Chan, who is also state disaster relief committee chairman, said the state government would not cancel any scheduled public events, including the ongoing Kuching Festival, but advised members of the public not to hold any closed-door functions at the moment.

“We had a Barisan Nasional (BN) meeting yesterday and the government is still looking into this and if things get any worse then we will think about taking drastic measures like closing schools and cancelling public events,” he told reporters after chairing a meeting with relevant agencies and departments at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Petra Jaya here.

Asked if supermarkets and other business houses should be made to screen their customers for the flu, he said such an initiative, which would be a good sales gimmick besides ensuring the premises were A H1N1-free, was up to the operators.

“We (the state government) have been very strict with last month’s Rainforest World Music Festival. People got very mad at us but it was effective in preventing the spread of H1N1,” he said, adding that those in the vulnerable group, including pregnant women should avoid going to crowded places.

Dr Chan said the fourth confirmed A H1N1 death yesterday in Sarawak involved a 18-year-old woman from Miri who was 26-weeks pregnant.

He said two other suspected H1N1 deaths were that of a 65-year-old man from Kuching and a nine-year-old girl who both died yesterday after having flu-like symptoms and breathing difficulties.

“If these are H1N1 cases, then six deaths are confirmed in Sarawak,” he said adding that 197 positive cases, including from 99 clusters, were reported state-wide so far.

However, he said, the figures might give a false impression as there were definitely a lot of sick people who were not tested and for which the rough estimates could be around 2,000 cases.

He said Sarawak had requested for A H1N1 laboratories, which were expected to be set up by the Health Ministry here in two months’ time, to complement the existing ones at the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) in Kuala Lumpur, the Sungai Buloh in Selangor and in Kota Kinabalu.