Sarawak deputy CM: Releasing names of premises visited by Covid-19 patients to create awareness, not to discriminate
SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is also Sarawak deputy chief minister, said apart from the names of the premises and their locations, the data also includes the date and time of the visit by the Covid-19 positive patients. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)

KOTA SAMARAHAN, Jan 23 — Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) explained today that it has no sinister motive in disclosing the names of the premises which have been visited by confirmed Covid-19 patients.

Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said it is to create awareness among the public to go for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) if they happened to be in these premises after the visit by the positive cases.

He said apart from the names of these premises and their locations, the data also includes the date and time of the visit by the positive cases.

“Our motive is whoever has visited these premises on the date and time, they are asked to go to the government hospitals or health centres for PCR test,” he told reporters after visiting the Bandar Riyal Market here this morning.

Uggah, who is also the deputy chief minister, was responding to Batu Lintang State Assemblyman See Chee How who had asked SDMC for the reasons in disclosing the names of premises which have been visited by positive cases.

He said the state assemblyman does not fully understand the SDMC’s objective in disclosing the data.

‘The data is disclosed after we have discussed in-depth pros and cons and we realised that it is important for us to inform the general public that if they are Covid positive and have visited those premises, and then whoever visit these places, later on, they need to the hospital or government clinics for screening,” he said.

“This is our intention. We don’t have any intention to cause the problem to the owners of the premises.

“But at the same time, the owners also want to know the date and time the positive case has visited their premises,” he said.

He said in Sibu recently, a large number of people went for PCR test after knowing the names of the premises that they have been to and over 10,000 samples were collected

He urged members of the public to come forward if they are worried about their health after they have been to the places which were earlier visited by the positive cases.

On his spot check at the Bandar Riyal Market, he said he is happy with the high standard of compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) by the vendors.

He said only one or two vendors have forgotten to wear their face masks.

“I also noticed that people coming to the market were also complying, such as taking their body temperature and writing down the names on the registration books,” he said.

Yesterday, See urged SDMC to clarify and review the requirements for publicising the lists of places visited by confirmed Covid-19 patients.

He claimed that the lists were detrimental to the business operators of those premises.

According to him, elsewhere, like in Singapore, the lists are published with the assurance of the health authorities that close contacts of the patients have been identified and were notified and that there is no need for the public to avoid those premises on the lists as they would have been sanitised or disinfected if necessary.

He said when the lists are not publicised with clarity on the purposes of its publication, the public would just shun these premises and the business operators, particularly the coffeeshop, restaurant and other eatery operators, malls as well as supermarkets will suffer unnecessarily.