MIRI: The authorities in Lawas must be uncompromising in stopping unnecessary travel to Sabah and tighten surveillance at illegal entry routes to contain the spread of Covid-19, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
He stressed that only essential and necessary travel should be allowed for locals intending to go to Sabah while those entering should be closely monitored and quarantined according to the SOP laid down by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).
The crowd waiting to be called to enter the swab test centre.
“Movement between Lawas and Sabah during this time should be disallowed unless it is very necessary,” he said a statement yesterday.
Being next door to Sabah, he said the authorities in Lawas must be very strict, especially at the border and the ‘jalan tikus’ (rat tracks), to stop people sneaking into the district.
Awang Tengah was commenting on news that over 1,000 persons in Lawas had been ordered to undergo swab tests for Covid-19 on Nov 18-19 after two persons who had been to Sabah tested Covid-19 positive.
Limbang Division Disaster Management Committee led by Resident Ir Ahamd Denney Ahmad Fauzi had ordered 1,054 persons in Lawas to undergo swab test at Lawas Indoor Stadium as instructed by the SDMC.
Health personnel taking of swab sample at Lawas indoor Stadium in Banting in response to two active cases detected in Lawas.
Two persons- a law enforcement officer and a retiree, were detected positive after their return to Lawas this month while a family of three, including a one-year-old child whose mother was teaching in Sabah were also detected as Covid-19 positive.
The samples taken yesterday and tomorrow will be sent by helicopter to Bintulu to expedite testing, and the results will be known in two to five days.
Awang Tengah has kept tabs on the spike of Covid-19 cases in the neighbouring state which skyrocketed after its state election last month, propelling Sabah to the top in infections in the country.
On Oct 26, he announced that a RM1 million molecular lab will be built in Limbang Hospital to undertake PCR tests for Covid-19 instead of relying on labs outside the division, which is expected to take off next year.
Bearing in mind that Lawas shares the border with Sabah, he had in his walkabouts in Lawas persistently called on locals to take the threat of Covid-19 seriously and observe religiously the SOP laid down by the Ministry of Health to stop its spread within the community.
The cases in Sabah had dipped this week but had sparked the third wave of infections in Malaysia, which was issued a Level 3 warning by Centre of Disease Control (CDC) that non-essential travel to the country should be avoided due to spike in cases over 14 days.
As of Nov 17, Sabah has recorded 23,882 cases, including 499 new cases, and 179 deaths compared to second most infected state Selangor with 8,046 cases and 27 deaths.
Sarawak lies in eighth position with 1,042 cases and 19 deaths, and the youngest Covid-19 patient is a one-year-old child from Lawas who returned with its parents from Sabah. The mother is a teacher in Sabah.