Sabah Health and People’s Wellbeing minister Datuk Frankie Poon said this action was taken immediately after Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal gave exceptions to allow those without symptoms and who came from green zones to undergo home quarantine on Saturday (May 2).
“Those from red zones or areas with cases are required to stay in state-provided quarantine centres and get screened further especially if they have any symptoms of the virus,” he said.
He said authorities faced initial hiccups in the handling and placement of students in quarantine centres due to the large number of arrivals.
“I'm not involved in the decision-making but was told that matters are being looked into and what needs to be settled are being settled,” Poon said when contacted Saturday.
Varsity students from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak have started to return home in phases since April 29, with a total of 10,000 expected to arrive.
Recently, there were also complaints from students and parents in Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan that some quarantine centres were cramped and dirty.
They complained that such conditions were counterproductive as the motive of quarantine was to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Parents also complained that their children were made to wait for hours after arriving at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) without getting screened by health officials as required, before they were checked into quarantine centres.
They felt that such a situation was not professional and shouldn’t have happened, especially during the fasting month.
Sources, who wanted to remain anonymous, said there was a delay in getting all students who had just arrived into quarantine centres as they did not have enough time to prepare for more beds and rooms in such a short time.
There was also a lack of manpower to address all arrivals at once, hence the delay in screenings upon arrival at the KKIA.
Last week (April 23), Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced that a slight leeway will be given to students in campuses to return home with conditions following the drop in Covid-19 cases.
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