The latest 31st death in Sarawak is now relegated to very insignificant coverage in the inside pages of the newspapers, in great contrast to the front-page coverage early last month, especially when there was the fear that the deadly virus has spread to Peninsular Malaysia.
The University of Nebraska Medical Centre which maintains the only Internet website providing close monitoring of the deadly viral epidemic outbreak could also discern this diminished interest of the health authorities when it commented in its update posted on the Internet yesterday, where it said:
"30 June, 1997 Both The Star and the Sarawak Tribune (see above) report that the CDC has sent two more biomedical personnel to Malaysia, a pediatrician and a toxicologist. We have also been told by what had been in the past "a reliable source" of information that another death has occurred, which would bring the total to 31. The JKNS website does not confirm this, however."
I visited the Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Sarawak website at 1.30 p.m. today and found that it still maintains that the total number of deaths is 30, when it should be 31.
The Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng had asked the people to get the latest news from the JKNS website, but it would appear that the JKNS is now giving "old" news.
The people of Sarawak and Malaysia are entitled to demand that so long as the viral epidemic poses threat to lives, the interest of the Health Ministry authorities concerned, and in particular that of the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, should not be diminished in any manner until the deadly viral epidemic is finally brought under control.