Masidi: Up to Health Ministry whether to prioritise state leaders as vaccine recipients for first phase

KOTA KINABALU: It is up to the Health Ministry to decide whether state leaders will be prioritised in the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out, says Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun (pic).

"It will be decided by the (Health) ministry," he said when asked whether state leaders from Sabah will be among those vaccinated in the first phase.

“Of course the first recipients from the frontliners are doctors, nurses and hospital staff, those in the field, ” he said.

He added that the second group of people who should be vaccinated are senior citizens, because they are a high-risk group.

“Whether leaders are listed as part of frontliners depends on the ministry. They have the basis to determine who gets the vaccination first, ” he said in the virtual press conference to update Covid-19 developments in Sabah on Wednesday (Jan 27).

Masidi also announced that 298 beds that were being used for Covid-19 patients will be used for other purposes, adding that this involves 28 beds in a ward in Duchess of Kent Hospital, 252 beds in Taman Sri Sapagaya low risk quarantine and treatment centre (PKRC), and 18 beds in Kudat Rest House PKRC.

“The beds in the Kudat Rest House have been distributed among the respective district health offices for quarantine purposes. Hospitals and other facilities in Sabah can still accept and treat Covid-19 patients as the occupancy is currently at 40%, ” he said.

“So we use the beds for patients needing other medical attention instead, ” added Masidi.

On concerns about parents being asked to send their school-going children for screening, he said this was just a suggestion.

“On the Covid-19 screening on SPM and STPM students issued by state health director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi in the Jan 12 circular, this directive is only for students staying in hostels. The advice for screening on children and students going to school, does not involve all students, ” he said, urging parents to keep tabs on their children’s condition.

On the possibility of the movement control order being extended past it's targeted end date of Feb 4, Masidi said this will be determined based on scientific data.

“We can’t really be sure, people are still relaxed. At the end of the day, it is up to our attitude. Even in the United Kingdom with more advanced methods than us, they still admit the issue is the discipline of the people in ensuring that the situation becomes better, ” he said.

Masidi added that if compliance to standard operating procedures is still low and the number of Covid-19 cases is still worrying, the government will assess all matters before deciding on the MCO period with advice from National Security Council and Health Ministry officials.

Sabah recorded 295 new cases on Wednesday, with one fatality registered in Putatan while the number of cumulative recoveries stands at 43,628 individuals.

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