Shafie Apdal: State govt not doing enough to fight rising Covid-19, hospitals at breaking point

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The Parti Warisan Sabah president said the state government’s lack of assertive action, especially in obtaining a consistent supply of vaccines from the federal government, has resulted in poor vaccination rates and the collapse of the state’s healthcare system. — Picture by Hari Anggara
The Parti Warisan Sabah president said the state government’s lack of assertive action, especially in obtaining a consistent supply of vaccines from the federal government, has resulted in poor vaccination rates and the collapse of the state’s healthcare system. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 27 — Sabah opposition leader Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal today called for more action from the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government as the Covid-19 crisis continues to ravage the state.

The Parti Warisan Sabah president said the state government’s lack of assertive action, especially in obtaining a consistent supply of vaccines from the federal government, has resulted in poor vaccination rates and the collapse of the state’s healthcare system.

“As the government of the day, there appears to be no effort made on their part to seek every way possible to get these vaccines for the people of Sabah. Not a word or from them to compel the federal government to expedite the arrival of vaccines to the state,” he said.

The Semporna MP said hospitals in the state are currently stretched to breaking point, with a huge lack of vaccine supply.

He said the situation had resulted in having to place extra beds in operating theatres at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital 1 and the hospital’s tunnel area while patients wait to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

“I was informed that those above 60 years of age get limited access to ventilators as the machines had to be used first on younger patients with better survival rates,” he said.

“More treatment centres should be set up at the Lok Kawi Army Camp and Sepanggar Naval Base. There is more than enough space at these two locations for makeshift hospitals and furthermore, they have their own doctors who can assist.

“Why is GRS not considering to set up these centres? Why are they not taking action about this?

“It’s sad, very sad. Sabahans don’t deserve this. Nobody does,” he said.

The former chief minister lamented that Sabah now holds second place for the highest number of positive cases in the country but is last for the percentage of people vaccinated.

The state has been recording unprecedented numbers of Covid 19 patients every day, having trouble registering them on time and the average weekly increment rate of infection in Sabah is 266 per cent.

Today 3,050 cases were reported in the last 24 hours in contrast to a month ago when the state only recorded 741 cases.

“Time and time again the GRS-led state government claims that the situation is under control and yet admits that there is a shortage of vaccines. In the meantime, more and more people get infected with Covid-19 at an escalating rate. Worse yet, even small children and babies are now adding to the statistics,” he said.

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