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A child reacts as a health worker takes a nasal swab for Covid-19 testing. — Bernama pic
A child reacts as a health worker takes a nasal swab for Covid-19 testing. — Bernama pic

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KUCHING, Aug 24 — Children and teenagers aged below 18 comprise 25 to 30 per cent of the new Covid-19 cases in Sarawak recently, said State Health director Datuk Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed.

He pointed out they are not eligible for Covid-19 vaccination and must therefore be protected from being infected.

He stressed parents and guardians must avoid bringing children and teenagers to public places for the time being, and practise preventive steps to avoid infecting them while at home.

“Stop them from outdoor activities or gathering with their friends,” he said in a statement issued last night.

Dr Mohamed Sapian also said daily Covid-19 cases are now on an uptrend, with the first four-digit figures of over 1,000 cases recorded on Aug 12 and a continuation of four-digit cases recorded daily since Aug 18.

He revealed that the majority of these cases or more than 99 per cent involved patients under Category 1 and 2 — no symptoms and mild symptoms.

As for the use of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in hospitals statewide, he said the use for critical Covid-19 cases currently stands at 30 to 40 per cent.

“Sarawakians are fortunate given the high coverage of the Covid-19 immunisation in the state, which resulted in the reduction of critical cases.

“However, the public should not allow this situation to continue as the number of beds in the hospital to accommodate case admissions as well as the facilities at the Low Risk Quarantine and Treatment Centres (PKRCs) will be filled up quickly.

“If the beds in the existing ward or PKRC are full of patients, difficulties will be encountered by the Health Department and other related agencies because it requires the procurement of additional medical and non-medical equipment,” he said.

He pointed out with more contact tracing activities being carried out, there will be more cases detected and could lead to the maximum capacity of the existing public health system to be exceeded.

“(When this happens), this may result in late detection of cases and contacts being detected and late treatment being given,” he said.

He urged Sarawakians and those living in the state to play their role by abiding by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the prevention of Covid-19.

“The people in Sarawak are urged to never be complacent and remain vigilant. Love yourself, your family, and your friends. Be responsible and together we break the chain of this Covid-19 infection,” he added. — Borneo Post Online

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