KOTA KINABALU, Feb 16 – Sabah’s chances of ending the movement control order (MCO) are bright if the state’s trend of Covid-19 cases continues downward.
The state’s minister in charge of Covid-19 matters, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, said that many aspects needed to be considered by the authorities, not only from a numbers standpoint but also the infectivity rate.
“Our R-naught number is at 0.82 so this is also one factor that needs to be considered.
“Also we see a trend towards stability, but it does not show a picture of whether the MCO will end or continue.
“More importantly, if we all follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the trend of cases continues to drop, then the chances that Sabah will end the MCO are bright.
“The decision will be made by the National Security Council after taking into account all factors, including advice from the Health Ministry,” he said.
He was commenting on whether the state’s stabilising case numbers were an indication that the MCO would end on February 18.
“States subject to the MCO such as Sabah are high-risk states, according to risk assessment by the Health Ministry, and the fact that their health services have reached maximum capacity in terms of capability.
“Although the number of new cases in Sabah seems more stable, the Health Ministry will make continuous risk assessment to decide whether the MCO will be terminated or continued before the MCO period expires,” said Masidi.
On the screening of foreign workers in plantations, employers have until the end of this month to ensure all their foreign workers are screened.
“Enforcement requiring employers to perform Covid-19 screening tests on their foreign workers will continue until February 28.
“Employers are currently still conducting Covid-19 screening tests on all foreign workers at clinics registered with Socso.
“As of February 15, 2,621 out of 8,369 employers have conducted Covid-19 screening tests on their foreign workers, amounting to 69,088 or 60% of the total foreign workers in Sabah.
“A total of 255 employees have been confirmed to be Covid-19 positive, an increase of 31 foreign workers since February 2,” he said.
On preparations by the Sabah government for Covid-19 vaccinations, Masidi said Sabah was targeting to have three million Sabahans receive vaccinations by February 2022.
“The NSC has a big role to play in obtaining the registration list of vaccine recipients in the second and third phases through the assistance of the village heads and the village community management councils.
“The first phase involves frontline workers, the second phase, the population with comorbidities such as the elderly and people with chronic diseases, while the third phase covers citizens aged 18 and above,” said Masidi.
He also said the Covid-19 vaccination programme, expected to start on February 26, will be completed in 3 phases.
“The first phase is expected to run from February 26 until April. The second and third phases are expected to run from April till February 2022,” he added.
On the issue of vaccinations for foreigners, including illegals in Sabah who may be afraid of coming forward to get vaccinated, Masidi said the government has decided to expand the free vaccination to them.
This includes those who do not have valid documents, in line with the theme of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (“Protect Yourself, Protect All”) and its “no one is safe until all is safe” approach.