KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has halted all chartered flights of university students into the state due to the large number of returnees posing a congestion risk at its quarantine centres.
State Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob (pic) said the there were some 6,796 students scheduled to return to the state.
He said that due to the large numbers, the quarantine centres would not be able to cope with the numbers of students as well as the general public returning all at once to Sabah from outside the state.
“We expect congestion at the quarantine centres provided by the government. We are stopping or postponing the chartered flights for now, ” he said.
Dr Yusof urged students to remain calm and patient and also inform their parents of the development.
The Sabah Health Department also urged the rescheduling of the chartered flights due to the threat of overcrowding at the quarantine centres.
The department’s director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi said that all returnees had to undergo Covid-19 tests and be kept at the centres until the results are obtained.
“We have asked for the chartered flights bringing back students to be rescheduled. This is because thousands of them are expected to come back for Hari Raya.
“They will have to be put at quarantine centres until the laboratory results are obtained on their Covid-19 tests, ” she said in a statement on Monday (May 18).
Dr Christina said that it was necessary to keep the returning students to complete their tests as it could pose a threat of the spread of Covid-19 if they returned to their respective hometowns and kampungs without prior screening.
She said as of May 16,7, 422 people are undergoing home quarantine and another 2,331 people were isolated at 42 quarantine centres statewide.
Sabah has recorded 331 Covid-19 cases as of Sunday (May 17) with five deaths and 31 still being treated at six hospitals in the state.