Sarawak may impose travel restrictions if COVID-19 cases spike


Sarawak may impose restrictions on tourists or non-Sarawakians travelling to the state if the local transmission of COVID-19 cases continues to increase, said state Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said even though the move would affect the tourism industry, it is the only way to break the chain of infection in the state.

 “Without any warning, there has been a sharp increase (in COVID-19 cases), and this is not an external infection but a local one. This shows how dangerous it is if we do not take care of our movements,” he told reporters after launching the Beccari Discovery Trail in Bukit Matang here today.

He said the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) is closely monitoring the situation in the state, especially in Kuching and Samarahan districts, which have recorded a significant increase in cases in the past week.

Prior to the recent increase in cases, tourist arrivals in Sarawak have improved with hotels reporting occupancy rates of 50 to 60 per cent since June, Abdul Karim said.

“We predict that tourist arrivals to the state would return to normal in September,” he added.

On the Beccari Trail, he said the area has the potential to be developed as a new tourist attraction.

“The place is about 17 kilometres from Kuching city and has the highest historical value, where a renowned Italian naturalist, Odoardo Beccari, had conducted research on flora and fauna during the reign of Sarawak’s second white Rajah, Rajah Charles Brooke,” he said.