This file pic dated Feb 5, shows passengers wearing face mask at the Kuching International Airport. -NSTP/File pic

KUCHING: Sarawak has made preparations to combat any possible spread of the Novel Coronavirus or now known as the Covid-19 disease.

State Disaster Management Committee Chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the state has its facilities, strategies, logistics, doctors, nurses and other health workers in place.

The Sarawak Health Department would make available additional thermal scanners at the Kuching International Airport, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri Airports and Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Sungai Tujoh.

Unggah had yesterday attended a medical preparedness and logistics briefing by doctors and senior representatives from the health department, Sarawak General Hospital, Institute of Community Medicine UNIMAS and the State Security and Enforcement Unit.

Also present at the closed door briefing were the State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Khui Hian, Deputy State Secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik and State Security and Enforcement Unit Director Datuk Dr. Chai Khin Chung.

Uggah said more doctors and personnel including those from other units and disciplines were being trained to handle any situation.

"Their training started since the middle of last month and we have enough manpower.

“We are focusing on developing excellent team spirit among them," he said in a statement, here.

The planned quarantine centre at the state Public Health Collegiat Kota Sentosa was also being readied and could accommodate up to 90 patients.

On the delay in test results for suspected cases, he said, UNIMAS was ready to collaborate with the State Health Department.

He added plans were being made to send more HDF (Health Declaration Forms) for distribution at check points on the Brunei side to ease the long queues at the ICQS Sungai Tujoh.

Uggah advised the people to make personal hygiene their top priority at all times and to closely follow the advice by the state Health Department.

Tourists and visitors to the state should follow the guidelines of the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, nine new Patients Under Investigation (PUI) cases were reported on Wednesday.

They comprised five at the Miri Hospital and four at the Sarawak General Hospital.

These bring the cumulative PUI cases reported from Jan 10 to Feb 12 statewide to 76.

To date, 59 tested negative and 17 were still pending.