KUCHING: Sarawakians all have vital roles to ensure that a second wave of Covid-19 infections does not happen, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said.

The Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman disclosed that SDMC was currently developing a strategy to face the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic by studying the experiences of Hokkaido in Japan and Singapore.

He explained that a report by the control and prevention task force led by Prof Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu, former Sarawak Health Department director and also from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s (Unimas) Faculty of Medicine, had suggested various steps which could be taken by SDMC to prepare for a second wave.

“The report gave examples of scenarios of Covid-19 transmissions in a few countries when there was a second wave. For example, in Hokkaido on January 28, the first case was reported. A month later, they declared a state of emergency after 66 cases were reported.

“After the economy was reopened on March 16, 18 cases were reported and rose to 279 on April 14 and the government had to enforce a second state of emergency. The cases in Hokkaido continued to increase to 984 on May 15,” said Uggah, who is also SDMC chairman, at the SDMC daily Covid-19 press conference.

He said that in Singapore, the second wave was when positive cases rose from 266 on March 17 to 28,800 on May 19, making it one of the countries with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

Therefore, he said, Sarawak had to learn from what had happened in the two places.

In the meantime, he said, the Local Government and Housing Ministry had come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the retail sector to guide all the traders concerned.

The SOP comprises the following:

  • Ensuring social distancing is practised at all times
  • Restricting the entrance and exit points of premises and the entry of customers into the premise at any one time is dependent on the size of the premise to prevent congestion
  • Ensuring all staff, suppliers, and customers undergo a temperature check before entering the premise
  • Preparing hand sanitisers at the entrance
  • Making it compulsory for employees to wear face masks
  • Carrying out disinfections and cleaning throughout the operation period

Uggah said that this SOP would apply to shopping complexes, supermarkets, department stores, boutiques, mini marts and other retail outlets.

“Retailers have to coordinate and ensure that all guidelines and conditions which have been set are complied with by employees and customers,” he said.

He said that while many traders and customers had been complying with SOP when shopping, there were still some errant individuals.