The past 24 hours saw a series of COVID-19 related updates from across Malaysia. The country saw 39 new cases reported, of which 28 were locally transmitted while 11 were imported from countries including United Kingdom, South Korea, India, and the Philippines. 

According to the daily situation update by Malaysia's Ministry of Health which was also posted on Facebook by Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, of the 28 locally transmitted cases, 22 were Malaysian citizens, while the remaining six cases are among non-Malaysian citizens. Of the 28 new locally transmitted cases, 21 were found in Sarawak, five in Kedah, and two in Sabah. In a separate Facebook update, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also noted that two new clusters were found in Kedah and Sarawak.  

Kuching declared red zone, non-Malaysians entering Sarawak to serve quarantine and undergo RT-PCR tests

With more than 50 cases local transmission cases in Kuching in the past two weeks, State Disaster Management Committee (JPBN) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas shifted Kuching from the yellow zone to the red zone, Bernama reported.

At a yesterday's daily press conference, he said: "Samarahan, Serian, Bau, and Lundu districts have also changed their status from the green to yellow zone. Thirty-five districts are still categorised as green zones."

Additionally, to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state, JPBN announced that effective 1 August to 14 August, business operating hours in zone one (yellow/red) will be limited to between 6am and 10pm.

Uggah also noted that all non-Malaysians who whish to enter Sarawak from abroad will need to undergo the Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test three days before leaving their country of origin. Upon arrival, they will be quarantined for 14 days and undergo two more RT-PCR tests on the second and tenth day. Expenses for both the quarantine and the tests will be borne by the individual.

He added: "As for the guidelines for oil and gas industry workers, Malaysians from the peninsula, Labuan, Sabah, and foreign nationals, they will be placed in quarantine centres for 14 days. The RT-PCR test will be taken on the second and 10th day. If the results come out negative, they will be allowed to go to the oil rigs."

Perak considering re-opening COVID-19 quarantine centres

Meanwhile, over in Perak, the government is looking into opening quarantine centres at hotels or government facilities that were previously gazetted for this purpose, Bernama reported.

Discussions between the Perak government and the National Security Council (NSC) to find suitable hotels and government facilities to be used as quarantine centres for COVID-19 are ongoing.

Speaking to reporters after the launch of the state-level 2020 National Month and Fly the Jalur Gemilang campaign, he said: "We think it is important to have quarantine centres because this epidemic is spreading again and there are people who have to be under quarantine still do not follow standard operating procedures (SOP), such as leaving the house and so on."

Prior to this, two COVID-19 quarantine stations were opened in Perak, namely at Kolej Sains Kesihatan Bersekutu (KSKB) Sultan Azlan Shah in Tanjung Rambutan and Institut Latihan Statistik Malaysia (ILSM), Sungkai.

Places where it is compulsory for people to wear face masks must be made specific, says Dr Lee Boon Chye (PH-Gopeng)

At the Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday, Dr Lee Boon Chye (PH-Gopeng) urged the government to clearly specifying the public areas that are categorised as compulsory zones to wear face masks to ensure the public is not confused, Bernama reported.

He said: "I welcome the mandatory face mask policy in public places, but it must be clear and easy to follow. The places where people are needed to wear a face mask must be clear and specific."

Earlier this week, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that from 1 August 2020, wearing masks will be compulsory when travelling in public transportation or in crowded places in Malaysia.

The Dewan Rakyat sitting continues today.

Five companies on board for Chuping Valley Industrial Area (CVIA) investments

On the topic of growth, companies planning to invest RM4.5bn in the Chuping Valley Industrial Area (CVIA) are expected to create about 12,000 job opportunities for the people of Perlis, as shared by Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man, in a Bernama report.

For context, the CVIA project is slated for completion in 2025, per NCER Malaysia, and is spread over 1,214 hectares. It comprises Perlis Inland Port logistics hub (202 hectares), and an industrial area (1,012 hectares) which focuses on three clusters: renewable energy generation, green manufacturing, and halal industry.

Such investments, Datuk Azlan shared with Bernama, will not only have a positive impact on Perlis’ GDP, but also provide jobs to locals, raising the per capita income.

He shared these comments at an event to mark the exchange of documents between five companies and NCIA chief executive Datuk Seri Issace John Jebasingam on their investment commitments.

The five companies are FGV Integrated Farming Holdings, MRCB Global Solutions, BioTech Birdnest, Dibuk Synergy, and Empayar Paradiqma.

Photo / 123RF.com