SIBU, May 20 — The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which requires essential services sector workers to undergo real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) screening tests to cross districts is not intended to restrict their movement, said Sarawak Public Health and Housing Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee.
Instead, he said, it is a preventive measure to curb the transmission of the COVID-19 virus to their families and subsequently the community.
“These people are at high risk because they often go to other areas in Sarawak, and we do not want them to bring (the) COVID-19 (virus) and infect their families and then spread it among the community,” he said.
He said this last night during a live streaming on his Facebook page regarding the latest developments of COVID-19 in the Sibu district.
Dr Annuar said the screening test was only applied to workers in the essential services sector who regularly traverse districts, and it (test) was done every two weeks to ensure they were negative for COVID-19.
He slammed certain parties for distorting the matter by stating that the screening test must be done every time an inter-district permit is applied for.
“The screening test should be done every two weeks for those who often cross the district, not every time when they want to cross the district.
“Don’t use this as mileage for something and cause confusion among the community. If you do not understand, ask first. Please be more responsible,” he said.
Dr Annuar, who is the coordinator of the Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee, added that a total of 55 inter-district permits were applied for at the Sibu central police station yesterday, and only three applications were rejected.
Of the total, three applications were for official matters, essential services (12), death (two), sick family members (10), others (22) and medical treatment (six).