KOTA KINABALU: It is still too early to judge whether the movement control order currently enforced in Sabah is working, as it will take about two weeks to see the full picture, says Datuk Masidi Manjun.
The state Local Government and Housing Minister said the rising number of cases in the state despite the MCO being in force since Jan 13 is due to the lack of compliance to standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the end of 2020.
He added that the rise in cases coul d also be attributed to mass screenings mounted by Socso of workers at plantations and mills, especially on the east coast.
"If you assume that the incubation period is ten days, the effectiveness of the MCO can only be seen after 10 days. So the numbers we are seeing now are infections from before the MCO," said Masidi.
"I believe the true picture of its effectiveness will be revealed in about two weeks' time, so we are talking about a few more days," he said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday (Jan 20).
Masidi also said the current MCO was not as strict as last year's because the government realised that they could not shut down the economy like before.
"We need to find a balance... Economic activities are allowed with strict compliance to the SOP, and I believe if this is done, there will be fewer infections from workplaces," said Masidi.
On the plight of barbershops and hair salon operators requesting to operate during the MCO, Masidi said there was a clear-cut reason why this service was not allowed due to unavoidable physical contact and close proximity with customers.
On the Health Ministry's new circular stating Covid-19 tests will only be done only on close contacts with symptoms, Masidi said the state Health Department will evaluate each case on its own merits.
"So it is not actually a directive, but rather a guideline. This means that those in Sabah will use their own discretion to decide," he added.
Asked how many students who were screened before to returning to schools were found positive in the state, Masidi revealed that as of Wednesday (Jan 20), 36 students tested positive for Covid-19 during screening of SPM and STPM students allowed to return to hostels from Jan 16.
He also said Internet access had been provided at all Covid-19 low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC) state-wide for students to continue their studies online.
Sabah recorded 406 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative numbers to 45,008.
Three fatalities were recorded; two in Sandakan and one in Kota Kinabalu. The cumulative recovery figure is 40,549 individuals.
Two new clusters were reported, Balibata with 35 cases in Beaufort and Sandakan and KKIP Selatan in Kota Kinabalu with 14 cumulative cases.
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