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Schools hit ordered to close
Published on: Saturday, January 29, 2022
By: Anthea Peter
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Kota Kinabalu: Schools that have recorded Covid-19 clusters have been instructed to close with immediate effect to curb the spread of the virus among students, teachers and staff, said Sabah’s Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

He said the closure would last for two to three weeks, subject to the State Health Department’s requirements. 

“School sessions for students sitting for major examinations can continue to proceed with strict standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance among students, teachers and staff of the educational institute,” he said in a statement, Friday.

Masidi said the Sabah Covid-19 Disaster Management Committee decided in a meeting on Jan 26 that it would instruct cluster-hit schools in Sabah to close in order to contain the virus. 

“The State Government has noted that from Jan 1 to 26, there is a total of six active education clusters and six localities under the supervision of the State Health Department involving the educational facilities of the Malaysian Education Ministry

“Reports as of Jan 28 show there are 10 clusters involving education institutions facilitated under the MOE,” he added. 

Masidi explained the issue had raised concern and was discussed by the State Cabinet, adding that there is a pressing need to draw up proactive preventive measures to curb the further spread of Covid-19 among schools. 

State Education Director Datuk Dr Mistrine Radin, when contacted, said the instruction to close will only apply to schools that have received the closure directive issued by the District Health Office. 

Asked on the number of students involved, she said “MOE (Malaysian Education Ministry) has the numbers”. 

Earlier, State Secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong had also issued a circular to Mistrine dated on Thursday, stating that cluster-hit schools would be ordered to close for two to three weeks. 

The tally of education clusters in Sabah continue to rise with another education cluster identified on Friday, named as the Batu 24 Nabalu Cluster in Kota Belud.

Masidi said the cluster involves students and teachers at SK Dallas as well as their family members, while some patients are those living in Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran. 

“The index case is a 31-year-old woman who is an aunt to one of the students. Close contact screenings found another three SK Dallas students positive. 

“Further screenings were conducted on teachers and other students which found more positive cases, bringing the tally of cases in this cluster to 22,” he said.

Sabah also recorded a workplace cluster in Papar, named as the Pesiaran Palma Cluster involving Sabah General Operations Force (GOF) headquarters.

“The index case is a 38-year-old female staff of the administration division at GOF headquarters, who experienced symptoms since Jan 22,” said Masidi. 

He said she tested positive at the Papar Health Office, and screenings conducted on her colleagues and family members found another 24 individuals positive. 

“The source of infection is believed to have stemmed from a birthday celebration at the office on Jan 17,” Masidi explained. 

Meanwhile, Sabah’s cases remain above the 300 mark with 358 cases on Friday, while two deaths were recorded, one each in Lahad Datu and Keningau. 

“A total of 47 cases, or 13.3 per cent of the caseload, were contributed by cluster screenings,” said Masidi, adding that 143 cases were close contacts, while 140 were sporadic infections. 

On the caseload, Masidi said Kota Kinabalu topped the list with 66 cases, followed by Sandakan (41), Tuaran (39), Penampang (32), Beaufort (27), Tawau (24), Papar (22) and Putatan (20). 

He said 353 out of 358 cases were category one and two infections that do not require hospital treatment, while one case is in category three, two each in category four and five. 

Some 177 Covid-19 patients have been discharged from the hospital while 792 patients are currently receiving treatment at hospitals, low risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRCs), prisons/temporary detention centres and private facilities.

On Sabah’s immunisation programme, Masidi said 7,252 individuals were vaccinated on Jan 27, of which 7189 were adults and 63 were teenagers. 

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