KUCHING, April 19 — All schools in red zones in Sarawak will be closed for 14 days beginning tomorrow following a spike in COVID-19 cases, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the government took this measure because infections had been reported in school areas and could spread to students, parents and teachers.

“In order to protect the health of children and the local communities, the Sarawak government decided to close all schools in red zones,” he told a press conference on enforcement of the standard operating procedure (SOP) at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.

As of yesterday, 18 districts in the state were under the red zone, with new daily cases hitting 508.

On why Sarawak enforced the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) instead of MCO, Abang Johari said field assessments done by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) showed that it was quite difficult to implement the MCO for now.

He said enforcing the MCO would burden many industries, and many Sarawakians would lose their jobs and face difficulties to make a living.

“After evaluating all issues and risks, the SDMC decided to continue with implementing Enhanced MCO (EMCO) in targeted districts because this approach had proved to be beneficial when implemented in longhouses, neighbourhoods and workplaces previously,” he said.

On Sarawak’s vaccination programme, he said the state was on the right track and that he had set up the Sarawak COVID-19 Advisory Group (SCOVAG) to advise the state government on news regarding global vaccines.

“On vaccine supply, I have given the green light to Sarawak to buy enough vaccines to further speed up the immunisation coverage for Sarawakians,” he said.

Phase two of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme in Sarawak began today in Sibu division, with focus given to senior citizens, people with comorbidities and persons with disabilities, while phase three is expected to begin in May.


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