KOTA KINABALU, Jan 29 ― Since the start of the new school year, four schools in Sandakan were ordered to close to facilitate sanitation works due to the Covid-19 infections.
Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the four schools were the only ones to be closed since the new school year started on January 20 after more than 60 cases of Covid-19 have been detected among students so far.
A private kindergarten was also found with an incident since screening began after it was announced that they were allowed to operate as of January 20.
“The closure of the four schools were due to the detection of some students and teachers with Covid-19 from the screening tests. The district health officer ordered the closure for 10 days while sanitation works were carried out,” he said.
The cases, detected among Form Five and Form Six students between January 20 and January 26, involved 10 students as well as four teachers.
In SMK Elopura, cases were detected among seven hostel students, one normal student and one teacher, while in SMK Batu Sapi, one teacher and one student were infected. SMK Perempuan Sandakan reported one case involving a student while a teacher from SM St Mary Sandakan was also infected.
“As of January 29, no other schools were closed. Studies resumed as home-based teaching and learning sessions continue,” said Masidi, adding that the Education Ministry and Health Ministry were still collecting information on how many students and teachers and their close contacts were screened, and found to be positive.
There has also been no information on the number of cases from the private kindergarten with incidences of Covid-19.
On Monday, it was announced that 58 students had been infected with Covid-19 from the back-to-school screening last week. The 58 students came from 17 districts. At the time, he said none of the schools were asked to close, and studies resumed for students under strict SOPs.
Meanwhile, one of the latest clusters, the Tinanom cluster in Ranau was traced back to a student who was screened during his admittance into a school hostel on January 19. The health authorities went back to his hometown in Kampung Tinanom in Ranau and detected a new cluster.
As a result of some 65 screening tests, 46 were found to be positive in this new cluster.
Meanwhile, Masidi also announced that the state will allow more businesses to open up until 10pm as per the latest allowance from the National Security Council.
Supermarkets, minimarkets, hypermarkets, sundry shops, convenient stores, pharmacies, optometrists and laundrettes could now open up to 10pm, an extension of two hours past the previous limitation.
He added that all businesses involved in the forestry and timber industry will also be allowed to resume operations from tomorrow. This will include logging companies.
Business hours of restaurants and shops selling food were extended to 10pm recently, following complaints from the public and industry players.
“However, self service laundromats are only allowed to open under the condition that there is an employee at hand to ensure all customers followed the SOPs and ensured that the capacity was adhered to,” said Masidi.