Returnees from Sabah encouraged to screen for Covid-19

This is especially important for those returning from areas such as Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu and Kunak


INDIVIDUALS returning from Sabah after voting in the state election are encouraged to screen for Covid-19, without having to undergo the mandatory quarantine.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture) said this is to ensure their personal and family’s safety.

He added that this is especially important for those returning from areas such as Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu and Kunak, where Covid-19 cases are peaking.

“I would like to emphasise that those who are returning from Sabah to the peninsula, Sarawak or Labuan will not need to undergo the compulsory 14-day quarantine.

“However, for those displaying symptoms, it is compulsory for them to perform a swab test when they leave Sabah. Those without symptoms are encouraged to do the screening as well,” he said in his Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) press conference yesterday.

Ismail Sabri added that those who are Covid-19 positive will not be allowed to vote in the Sabah state election, which is set to be held on Sept 26.

However, there are three categories of voters who will be allowed to go out to vote with the procedure set by the Election Commission (EC).

“First are the normal voters. They must arrive at the stipulated time and queue according to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avoid crowd and congestion.

“Second are voters with symptoms. They can vote at the voting centres at a specific time and they will be taken to the special polling station provided.

“The third category is those who are still quarantined. They can vote but must make an application to the District Health Office so that they can be brought out to the voting centres,” he noted.

Meanwhile, on campaign activities, Ismail Sabri said only one or two people are allowed to enter residents’ homes for house-to-house campaigning, while talks (ceramah) are limited to 30 people only.

He also stressed that during the campaign, all parties involved must practise strict self-control, especially practising the basic SOPs such as physical distancing and wearing face masks.

Speaking on the Covid-19 situation in Sabah, Ismail Sabri said the Health Ministry (MoH) is targeting to screen about 25,000 individuals from Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kunak dan Semporna.

“To date, 9,610 individuals have been screened in all these areas. To ensure that the transmission is under control, MoH will continue carrying out targeted screening of the community and high-risk groups.

“The police will add roadblocks in these areas to control the outbreak and the agency under the National Task Force will strengthen the border control in Sabah waters,” he added.

On another note, the senior minister also announced that sports premises are now allowed to operate until 2am.

He said the decision was made in a special Cabinet meeting after receiving many requests from the operators involved.

“Previously, sports-related business operators, such as futsal had to stop operations by midnight. However, we received many complaints that most visitors will come to the premises only after the Maghrib prayer.”

However, he reminded that all parties involved, including players, managers and visitors of the premises must follow the SOPs set by the government.