The COVID-19 Challenge In Labuan

LABUAN: Healthcare personnel are facing a major challenge in carrying out COVID-19 screening and contact tracing in two UNHCR-sanctioned settlements on this island, according to Labuan Health Department director Dr Ismuni Bohari.

He said the occupants of the densely-populated Kg Muslim and Kiamsam water villages, home to Filipino refugees and other immigrants, lock themselves up in their houses or flee when they see the healthcare personnel.

“We are not welcome. People there avoid us and flee … some probably flee by boat, some hide by holding on to the stilts under their houses while others run into the woods. This is the situation impeding our efforts to trace unrecorded cases,” he told Bernama today.

Nevertheless, despite the lack of cooperation from the inhabitants, several healthcare personnel led by Ismuni carried out active case detection two weeks ago but only to see a resurgence of several positive cases in the settlements soon after.

Dr Ismuni spoke of the possibility of getting policemen to accompany the healthcare personnel to reach out to the people there.

Labuan has seen a decline in the number of cases over the past few days, with clusters such as Sky Coklat, Saguking, Titian and Tenaga showing a significant drop in cases. Today, the island recorded five new cases, taking the number of cumulative cases to 1,404.