Sabah may extend school holidays to help curb spread of Covid-19

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd ShafieApdal. – Bernama

By John Isaac

THE Sabah state government is considering extending the current school holidays in an effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus in high risk areas.

Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said this follows the 23 new cases reported in the state yesterday bringing the total to 49.

The first term school holidays began on March 13 till 21.

“Our efforts had helped in protecting the people of the state but we were fully aware that it was only a matter time before the Covid-19 would spread to Sabah as seen in other parts of the world,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

In expressing concern over the spread of Covid-19 across Sabah in such a short span of time, Shafie said last week the first positive case was detected in a 58-year-old man in Tawau who was among 300 Tabligh members who attended the Seri Petaling Mosque gathering between Feb 29 and Mar 1.

According to Borneo Post, since then, Shafie said, health officials in the state have detected more cases from among those who attended and steps are being taken to locate them and also people they have come in contact with over the past 10 days since their return.

“The Health Department and others have been going all out to locate and identify areas that could have been contaminated.

“They have taken swift measures that will include temporarily closing of mosques and suraus in areas that have been identified with Covid-19 cases.

“I appeal to everyone to cooperate with the authorities and to follow the advice of the health officials,” he said.

Shafie is also aware that there will be a lot of sacrifices by everyone especially the medical personnel who are on the frontline. “We are thankful for their courage and hard work.”

“I appeal to the people to minimise their movements and for the private sector to allow their employees to work from home, if possible.

“Avoid non-essential travel and observe and take heed of the advice from health officials.

“We can overcome this if we all come together to do our part. The government will do whatever is necessary and possible to stop the spread of Covid-19. The public needs to stay calm and must fully cooperate with the authorities,” he urged.