Sabah activates all district disaster ops centres to face Covid-19

Julia Chan
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal speaks to the media March 30, 2020. — Picture courtesy of the Sabah Chief Minister’s Dept

KOTA KINABALU, March 30 — Sabah has ordered all disaster operations centres in all districts as a preemptive measure in preparation for a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said that the state security council decided at its meeting today to open up all the centres in anticipation of more coronavirus cases to hit the state.

“We want to take precautionary measures and be prepared in the event there is an increase of Covid-19 cases.

“Aside from that, it would also serve as a distribution centre for food and supplies so that all those affected by the lockdown can be reached via these centres,” he said.

So far, 13 out of the 25 districts in Sabah has reported cases of Covid-19 but most of the 197 cases are concentrated in Tawau, Lahad Datu and Kota Kinabalu. Most all of the cases are linked to the Sri Petaling tabligh on February 27 to March 1.

On complaints on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) arranging for donations to rural communities, Shafie also said that they commend the effort and good intentions, but the NGOS would still have to use the existing government machinery to reach the people.

“It’s not that we don’t appreciate it. Their intentions are honourable, but we don’t want many people moving during the MCO period, going all over the state and getting in contact with the communities,” he said.

“They can still help, but it needs to be coordinated by the welfare department or the district office to be distributed. There is a structure in place, and we will ensure it reaches the people,” he said.

Shafie also said that efforts were ongoing to disinfect all public areas aside from Covid-19 hotspots such as schools, hostels, community halls, offices and places of worship.

“Sabah is a big state, we have to see if we can reach a larger area,” he said when asked whether disinfection operations would be carried out at housing areas.

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