KUCHING: The state government could get all workers including foreign ones to be tested for Covid-19 if there are enough test supplies.
Currently, there are 138,183 foreign workers in the Sarawak.
Last Tuesday, the Manpower Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Department monitored the welfare and health of these workers to find out whether or not they have contracted the disease.
Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, said it was important to monitor this group closely as the state government did not want them to become a major Covid-19 cluster.
Sarawak Housing Estates Developers Association (Sheda) Kuching branch chairman, Sim Kiang Chiok, pointed out that all foreign workers in the state were brought in by their sponsors or employers on approval by the Immigration and Labour departments. These workers are highly controlled and usually the employers also provide quarters for them.
“During our movement control order (MCO), these workers have not been working. They just stay in their designated quarters under the care of their employers.
“If they get infected, their employers have to take them to hospital,” he said in a press statement, yesterday.
Sim also pointed out that their movements could be easily traced and controlled, making it quite easy for the Ministry of Health (MoH) to check their health.”
However, the tests are only available for those with symptoms and their close contacts.
“Furthermore, there’s high demand for these tests from all over the world and to test all our workers would be wasteful — unless it’s necessary,” he added.
The other important issue about foreign workers during the MCO period is those who are not allowed to work are not earning any income.
“Therefore, their employers have to provide their daily food. If the MCO and work restrictions were to be extended again, the government must also help these employers so that the basic wellbeing of the foreign workers can be maintained,” he said.