KOTA KINABALU: With only 67% of foreign workers in Sabah tested for Covid-19, employers who fail to screen their foreign manpower will risk being compounded once the deadline ends.
State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said as of Sunday (Feb 28), 78,449 out of the 116,834 migrant workers registered had undergone the Covid-19 screenings.
“The remaining period for the screening is scheduled this week and next week, where appointments must be made with registered clinics.
“Compounds will be given to employers who failed to test their foreign workers for Covid-19.
“Failure can also lead to the work passes and related work visit permits of their workers not being renewed, ” he said in a virtual press conference Monday (March 1).
On a question, the state Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) does not foresee any issues in terms of storage and delivery of vaccine doses under phase 1 scheduled in March and April.
“The CITF at district level has been activated for the vaccination programme with other agencies, to solve likely problems involving vaccine access such in remote areas, in phase 2 and phase 3 of the programme, ” he said when responding about possible challenges with problems unique to Sabah.
Asked if Sabah will only use the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, he said no decision has been made for phase 2 and phase 3 of the programme where vaccine distribution to states is under Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee’s purview.
Masidi said the latest studies estimated that herd immunity can be achieved when 70% to 90% of Sabah folks have been immunised, and the vaccination programme is expected to continue until February next year with a target of over 95% of the population.
Commenting on the movement control order to be imposed in Nabawan district from March 3-16, he said this was an example of how movement restrictions are imposed not only based on the number of active cases but on the high infectivity factor in an area.
He said just from a funeral event, the Sinsingon cluster has spread to those who attended from nearby 15 villages, contributing to the sudden hike of cases.
“The failure to practise the new norm and maintain physical distancing are among the main factors in the virus spread, ” he said.
On a question if the authorities are cooperating with local leaders and village chiefs to ensure standard operating procedures (SOPs) are practised at social events in villages, he said these head figures should be alert to new directives issued by the government from time to time.
“Their cooperation would really help the government in developing the villagers’ awareness of practising the new norm on a daily basis and adhering to the SOPs, ” he added.