Delayed test results and mass Covid-19 screening programmes are the main factors that led Tawau to record the highest daily new cases in Sabah for five consecutive days, with 24 cases reported yesterday.
Tawau health officer Dr G. Navindran said they had received over 800 delayed test results since the past week, whereby the samples had been sent to laboratories outside the district to be processed.
He said the mass screening conducted by the Social Security Organisation (Socso) on farm and factory workers, including in Kalabakan, for the last two weeks also contributed to the increased cases.
The Sabah state government has agreed to allow police officers and personnel stationed in Sabah to enter the state during the implementation of the movement control order (MCO), subject to several terms.
Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, who is also the state government's official spokesman on Covid-19-related matters said among the conditions was to get an immigration stamp (Section 66 (1) (d) of the Immigration Act 1959/63) on their travel document upon arrival.
“Admission to Sabah must be via Restricted Travel Document (DPT) or Malaysian International Passport (PMA) to obtain the stamp and submit supporting documents such as the transfer, or placement letter from the department to serve in Sabah,” he said, adding that their dependents would also need to obtain the stamp or apply for a long term social visit pass.
As of yesterday, Sabah has recorded a total of 307 Covid-19 deaths with 131 of those fatalities occurring at the intensive care unit.
Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the other 54 deaths occurred in isolation wards or the emergency unit, while another 122 deaths took place outside of hospitals.
"There are seven deaths involving people under the age of 20; 46 deaths in the ages 21 to 50 category; 66 deaths for the ages 51 to 60 category; and 94 deaths for the ages 61 to 70 category.
The two new clusters in Sabah on Thursday (Jan 21) involving the plantation industry at the State’s east coast have been identified.
State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun (pic) said the first cluster called Ladang Sebrang in Lahad Datu has 21 cumulative cases.
“The index case was traced through symptomatic screening on Jan 9 at Silabukan health clinic. Close contacts and workplace screenings found 20 positive cases at the palm oil processing mill.
“Meanwhile, Silimpopon cluster in Kalabakan also involved the plantation industry, with 29 cumulative cases.
It is too early to gauge the effectiveness of the two-week Movement Control Order (MCO) in the state.
Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that as the MCO entered the eighth day today, he hoped that it would help to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infection in the state.
Since last week, the state Covid-19 statistics reported a three-digit number ranging between 300 and 500 cases every day.
"Based on our survey, the increased number of infections recently is most likely due to the non-compliance of standard operating procedures (SOP) that happened towards the end of 2020.
Thirty-six students in the state have already been found to have Covid-19, said Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
The Sabah Covid-19 spokesman said that the cases were all discovered from the mass screening on students who were due to return to their hostels to prepare for the STPM and SPM examinations.
“These 36 students were found to be positive for Covid-19 through the screening on all returning schools which began on January 16,” he said during a press conference here today.
Seventy-nine per cent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Sabah hospitals are occupied by Covid-19 patients.
State Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said despite this, the Health Ministry will do its best to accommodate and provide the best healthcare for the people.
"There are two major hospitals in Kota Kinabalu, one has 36 ICU beds and the other has six beds; Tawau has 32; Sandakan 18; Lahad Datu 13; and Keningau 10.
"There are 115 ICU beds in total and 91 patients are being treated at ICUs to date, with 23 of them needing ventilators," he said in a virtual press conference.
The Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) at Kampung Timbang Dayang, Kota Belud in Sabah, ends today.
According to Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the Health Ministry said the last active Covid-19 case in the locality was recorded on Jan 11.
"Following the advice of the Health Ministry during the special National Security Council meeting (today), the EMCO placed on Kampung Timbang Dayang ends as scheduled on Jan 18.
"The active cases in the locality are under control and there are no samples left awaiting results.
Sabah government announced on Saturday (Jan 16) the decision to roll out Bantuan Prihatin Covid-19 2.0 to help Sabahans impacted by the movement control order.
The RM128.98mil assistance will be distributed in two forms; a RM300 one-off financial aid and via a food basket programme, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor in a statement
"The state government is allotting RM97.4mil for the one-off assistance to 324,661 recipients from e-Kasih list, B40 group, orphans, senior citizens, the disabled and single mothers.
Sabah will allocate RM97.4 million to provide financial relief to those affected by the second phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO 2.0).
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, in a statement today, said the allocation would be used to distribute a one-off RM300 financial relief to 324,661 people in the state.
The recipients would comprise those registered under the e-Kasih platform, those from the B40 category, orphans, senior citizens, disabled, single mothers, farmers, fishermen, tourist guides, mountain guides and porters, taxi drivers, bus drivers, artists, and traders, among others.
"The National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) has also provided an allocation of RM31.58 million for food basket expenses.
Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan has been discharged from the hospital after recovering from Covid-19 today.
The state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister left the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) here, at 1pm, along with his wife Datin Seri Cecelia Kitingan.
In a statement, Jeffrey thanked the medical team who had been treating them especially State Health Department Director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi and QEH Director Dr William Gotulis.
He also extended his appreciation to the hospital's Infectious Disease Unit Chief Dr Lee Heng Gee and all the staff, who cared for them during their two-week quarantine at the hospital.
A few diners chipped in to pay fines for two restaurants which allowed people to sit and dine in Beaufort on Friday (Jan 15).
In the first incident, a 58-year-old man was issued a compound after he was found allowing dine-ins at about 1pm.
Beaufort OCPD Deputy Supt Azmir Abd Razak said the man was compounded when policemen were doing their routine checks and inspections on SOPs in view of the movement control order (MCO) in place in Sabah.