PUTRAJAYA: A total of 430 Health Ministry (MOH) personnel will be sent to Sarawak this Wednesday (April 21) to assist in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, said its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
He said the decision to increase the number of health personnel in Sarawak followed his visit to the last Monday and Tuesday, during which he also visited the COVID-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centre at Stadium Perpaduan in Kuching.
“Based on the situation there and findings from the visit, we found that there is an urgent need to increase the number of health workers in Sarawak, which will be carried out in stages,” he told a press conference after launching the book ‘Malaysia Health Sector Response to COVID-19: Perspectives From The Field’ at his ministry, here today.
Yesterday, Sarawak recorded 489 new COVID-19 cases, with the Tembok Sri Aman and Jalan Puncak Borneo clusters being the main source of the positive cases.
Dr Adham said Sarawak needed about 1,436 health workers, including medical officers, assistant medical officers, microbiological science officers, nurses and drivers.
“The health workers who will be sent (to Sarawak) are those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,” he added.
According to Dr Adham, almost 600,000 frontline workers have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and almost 470,000 of them have completed both doses.
On the distribution of cases in Sarawak for the period between April 1 until yesterday, he said Meradong district recorded the highest number at 771, followed by Julau (605), Bintulu (556), Kapit (387), Beluru (343) and Sibu (283).
“These are the districts with high rate of cases or above average. So, MOH will send more staff to these areas.
“ Apart from that, MOH will also mobilise health workers from districts that do not have cases such as Simunjan, Pusa and Lundu,” he added.
On the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Dr Adham said the decision would be announced after the Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) meeting next week.
According to media reports, Denmark had last Tuesday (April 13) announced its decision to discontinue with the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, making it the first European country to do so following concerns of the side effects of the vaccine.