KOTA KINABALU: Social gatherings may be the first to go if Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Sabah, warns Datuk Masidi Manjun.
The Local Government and Housing Minister urged the public to avoid this scenario by being more disciplined in observing standard operating procedures (SOPs), as the virus spreads in the community.
Masidi also urged people to reduce social gatherings since nearly 60% of cases in the state was due to close contact tracing, raising the alarm on community infection.
“Today we no longer have green zones in Sabah; we have red, orange and yellow, and today the red zones increased to 19 districts.
“This is not a good start for 2021, despite seeing a reduction of numbers before Christmas last year, ” he said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday (Jan 6).
He said the spread of Covid-19, due to failure of adhering to SOPs during New Year’s celebrations might only be traced later up to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
“I am concerned the numbers of cases might rise the next few days when symptoms of those attending New Year’s gatherings will appear.
“While the need to review existing policies are based on the Covid-19 trend and advice from the Health Ministry and National Security Council (NSC), I can tell you that we are looking into all options.
“And if the need arises, just as a precaution, the first thing I am sure to be reviewed is social activities, because it is one of the sources of community infections.
“So, it is time to limit any social functions, ” he said when answering a question on the government’s plan should numbers keep increasing.
On a question whether they will consider banning flights temporarily between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, he said that is always an option to consider if it is in the best interest of Sabahans.
Sabah recorded 405 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the number of cumulative cases to 38,960, with two fatalities recorded, one each at the districts of Putatan and Kudat.
A new cluster called the Kg Pitas cluster in Tawau, which stemmed from workplace screenings at a wood mill, was also reported with 72 cumulative cases.
Meanwhile answering a question whether there were other Sabah Cabinet ministers or leaders who tested positive for Covid-19 following Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s recent test which came out positive, Masidi said so far there were no such cases.