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Delta Variant: Masing Wants Sarawak Border Security Beefed Up

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KUCHING, June 25 — Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has directed for the Malaysia-Indonesia border security patrol to be beefed up to curb the influx of illegal immigrants into Sarawak following the spike in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

He said the Armed Forces as well as border enforcement agencies like the General Operation Force (GOF) and the Immigration Department need to intensify their surveillance on the illegal trails or locally know as “jalan tikus” (rat trails) along the international boundary.

“This must be prevented at all costs. That is why we must secure the hundreds of ‘jalan tikus’ (along the Malaysia-Indonesia border). I have asked the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), GOF and Immigration Department to be on alert,” he said in a statement issued today.

As the minister in charge of security in Sarawak, Masing said he was concerned over a NikkeiASIA’s portal report last week which said that Java had been imposing regional lockdowns after 12,624 new cases of COVID-19 were detected with 107 of them being of the Delta variant from India, which is considered highly infectious.

He said that some of the foreigners who encroached into Sarawak via the Malaysia-Indonesia border could be coming from Java or neighbouring Indonesian islands carrying this deadly variant, where they had to be stopped before crossing the border.

Masing admitted that the task of monitoring the border would not be easy considering the length of the border line that had to be covered by the enforcement personnel but he was satisfied that so far they had fulfilled their responsibilities judging by the numbers of illegal immigrant that they had caught in the last few months.

He said the Sarawak Government had also equipped these personnel with all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), scrambler motorcycles, drones and telecommunication equipment, among others, to facilitate their tasks of guarding the border.

“What worries me is that according to the MAF, GOF and Immigration Department, the illegal immigrants, who came through hundreds of jalan tikus, keep coming back within days after being deported,” he said, as he repeated his previous suggestion for fences to be built at strategic places along the Malaysia-Indonesia border to curb such intrusion.

Sources: BERNAMA

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(Video) Beneficial Music Choice! These 5 Songs Can Help You Improve Your Focus

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Music actually is not just a means of entertaining ourselves. Other than that, it can also encourage creativity and also would help us to become more productive. Listening to music can be so therapeutic, relieving feelings of stress so that you can concentrate better. In fact, plenty of people swear by music as a helpful tool for studying and working.

Studies have shown that music produces several positive effects on a human’s body and brain. Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory. These are 5 songs that have been scientifically proven that can really help you to improve your own focus.

1) Classical Music

Research done in French universities have shown that listening to classical music while studying can increase your test scores. Students lectured in a room with classical music in the background did significantly better on a quiz than students in a room with no music.

2) Meditation Music

Stress is not your friend when you need to focus. Music used for the purpose of meditation facilitates your mind and body’s ability to relax into a state of calmness. The effects of meditation music have been studied on cancer patients to decrease their levels of stress and increase their probability of healing and physiological markers of health.

3) Instrumentals

From movie and video game soundtracks to trance jazz, the pure melody of the instrumentals music gives your brain a break from trying to make sense of song lyrics in addition to concentrating on the 2,300 words you still have to knock out on your essay.

4) Nature & Rain Sounds

Nature relaxes us as it takes us away from the beeps and honks of city living and brings us to a state of relaxation and contentment. In a 2010 study, the participants who completed a challenging math problem that was followed by 10 minutes of nature sounds experienced greater sympathetic nervous system relaxation than the control group. Whether it be the sound of rain, ocean waves or the jungle, the sounds of nature manage to silence any annoying brain blabber and allow you to focus on the task at hand with surprising clarity.

5) Brainwave Entrainment

Brainwave entrainment is the scientific term of synchronizing your brain’s neuron activity to the rhythm of sound. There are two types of Brainwave Entrainment:

  • Binaural beats: Binaural beats utilize your brains natural ability to fill in sensory gaps by emitting sounds of two different frequencies into each ear. This causes the brain to detect the variance between these two frequencies and create its own frequency from the difference between the two.
  • Isochronic Tones: Research has said that the brain actually functions most optimally during the silence between sounds. This is why drumming can be so entrancing.

Sources: Spoon University.

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Labuan First To Achieve Herd Immunity Against COVID-19

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LABUAN, July 27  — Labuan today completed fully vaccinating 80 per cent of its adult population and has become the first among federal territories and states in the country to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

The federal territory has immunised 54,800 of the 68,500 adults listed as eligible for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).

The Labuan COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and the Labuan Disaster Management Committee described the programme as a difficult task but acknowledged that great team work had resulted in the success of the exercise.

Labuan CITF chairman Rithuan Ismail said a total of 54,800 (80 per cent) of the total population eligible for vaccination have received the two doses of the vaccine.

“We are pleased to have achieved herd immunity three days earlier than the targeted date of July 30.

Sources: BERNAMA

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Fear of Needles A Needling Issue Amid Vaccination Campaign

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KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – While it is heartening that Malaysia has ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination drive in its endeavour to attain herd immunity soon, people who have an aversion to needles are having a hard time overcoming their fear and getting themselves inoculated.

For those who have a strong fear of needles, getting the vaccination is a big deal and can be anxiety-inducing.

According to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak psychiatrist Dr Amanda Albert, fear of needles is not uncommon, with some experts postulating that avoidance of pain caused when the needle pierces the skin is actually an evolutionary instinct.

“The human race survived by avoiding pain and injury with their fear instinct, creating a human predisposition to this fear of needles.

“However, problems arise when this fear reaches the extreme level of a phobia as this will affect one’s ability to obtain the vaccine or undergo any other medical procedure involving needles,” she told Bernama recently.

The specific phobia about medical procedures involving needles is called trypanophobia which, said Dr Amanda, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), as a blood-injection-injury type phobia.

In Malaysia, there are no statistics pertaining to the number of people with this phobia but globally it is estimated that up to one in 10 people may suffer from some form of trypanophobia, she said.

“Studies also show that four out of five people with trypanophobia report having a first-degree family member with the same phobia. However, experts believe this may be due to learned behaviour more than actual genetic inheritance,” she added.

SYMPTOMS OF MEDICAL NEEDLE PHOBIA

Dr Amanda said trypanophobia is diagnosed when a person has an immediate and marked fear response to medical needles.

Symptoms include fainting, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, sweating and palpitation.

“This fear can go on for at least six months and cause the person to avoid the trigger with intense fear and anxiety, usually out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the needle.

“It is also out of proportion to the person’s sociocultural context, meaning their fear responses are different from the fear responses of those in their social circles and cultural background,” she explained.

She said in certain cases, persons with this phobia have been known to completely avoid going to a clinic or hospital despite having an illness that requires treatment, or even refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“They will avoid medical needles at all costs, be it needles for vaccines or blood transfusion or medications that are given through the vein,” she said, adding that those with extreme trypanophobia may not only avoid the COVID-19 vaccine but also resist having their blood sample taken or any medication given via needles should they develop COVID-19.

Unlike anti-vaccination groups that have no trust in science or vaccine safety, individuals with trypanophobia generally do not object to vaccinations – they avoid it purely due to their fear of medical needles.

“People with trypanophobia would probably have no problem with taking vaccines that are given orally, like the polio vaccine,” she said, adding that people with this phobia can seek the help of a professional therapist, such as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, to overcome their fear.

DEALING WITH THE FEAR OF NEEDLES

Dr Amanda said those who are avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine due to their fear of needles must teach themselves to relax and do deep breathing exercises “to slow down the bodily responses of fear such as fast heartbeat and fast breathing” as it can help one to feel more at ease.

“(While at the COVID-19 vaccination centre) after you have checked that you are being given the right vaccine dosage, find things that would take your attention away from the procedure at hand. Bring a trusted friend or family member with you, or talk to them on the phone.

“You can also hold an ice pack in your hand as (the sensation of) pain and temperature run along the same nerve pathways to the brain, so this is a form of ‘distraction’ to your nerve pathway. If the room you are in has a piece of art or a cartoon drawing that you appreciate, pay more attention to it than the needle,” she said.

She also said that people with trypanophobia could prepare themselves for the vaccination through exposure therapy, which involves exposing themselves to medical needles step by step.

“Read about it and watch videos, then accompany someone to a vaccination centre,” she added.

Meanwhile, Dr Ammar Rashidi Abdullah, a medical officer at Hospital Kepala Batas in Penang, said individuals who have a phobia about needles should consult a psychiatrist or counsellor to overcome their fear.

The fear of needles can be detrimental to one’s state of health as it discourages a person from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as any medical treatment involving the use of needles, he said.

He also reminded that the COVID-19 vaccines offered by the Ministry of Health are safe and approved by the ministry’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority Malaysia, as well the World Health Organisation.

Sources: BERNAMA

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