Covid-19: Screening all foreign workers could overwhelm state hospitals, says Sabah Health Dept


KOTA KINABALU (Bernama): The Sabah Health Department (JKNS) says it will not be able to conduct Covid-19 screening on all foreign workers in the state if that is a prerequisite to allowing economic sectors to operate again.

Its director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi said government hospitals in Sabah would face many requests if screenings were made compulsory for all foreign workers.

"In stages, we can do it, but if it is a prerequisite (for the economic sector) to operate again, then it will be a problem.

"We can't meet the demand if it's going to be done by (government) hospitals because we have our own patients," she told reporters on Tuesday (May 5).

On Monday, (May 4), Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government would make it compulsory for all foreign workers in Malaysia – including those from the construction, manufacturing and commercial sectors – to undergo Covid-19 swab tests in a bid to help curb the disease from spreading further.

Sabah Health and People's Well-being Minister Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung was reported by a news portal as saying that that the state would not be able to carry out tests on 100,000 foreign workers in the state as there was insufficient Covid-19 reagent test kits.

In the meantime, Dr Christina said the Department was facilitating some employers wanting to reopen their businesses as well as advising them to comply with the standard operating procedure (SOP) since the Covid-19 pandemic had yet to end.

"Everyone must understand this situation. It is not just about going back to work as normal, but employers must ensure that screenings are done, social distancing is practised and face masks and disinfectants are used," she said. – Bernama

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