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KUCHING, Feb 26 -- The recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Sarawak was mainly caused by social gatherings, said State health director Dr Chin Zin Hing.
He said those who failed to observe standard operating procedures (SOPs) and new norms such as physical distancing, failure to wear face masks and not washing hands also contributed to a spike in cases.
“People in Sarawak are reminded that COVID-19 is within the community and is just waiting for the opportunity to spread further.
“The infection occurs either in a crowded place or confined space, interacting or talking at close range (close conversation), and while eating or drinking (whereby the face mask is removed),” he said in a statement here today.
Commenting further, Dr Chin said funeral ceremonies have contributed to four clusters, one each in Sibu, Beluru, Kapit and Kuching, while the size of these clusters is between 25 and 2,000 cases.
“Social gatherings have contributed to 11 clusters, of which three were in Kuching, Samarahan (two) and one each in Serian, Sri Aman, Kapit, Julau, Betong, and Bau. The sizes of these clusters were 17 to 61 cases in each cluster,” he said.
While, he said workplace clusters also contributed to the increase in cases, with five clusters detected, two in Bintulu and one each in Matu, Meradong and Sri Aman, with sizes between 10 and 35 cases each.
There was also one wedding cluster in Miri, involving 187 cases, Dr Chin said.
Due to this, the State Health Department is appealing for the cooperation of all parties to avoid participating in any large gatherings.
“The high risk of infection can occur when individuals participate in large gatherings and subsequently infect their family members and co-workers. Therefore, the public is urged to act wisely to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in Sarawak,” said Dr Chin.