14 more schools in Pasir Gudang to close for 4 days

Medical staff go to the aid of children with breathing difficulties in Pasir Gudang today. (Bernama pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: Fourteen more schools in Pasir Gudang will close for four days starting tomorrow.

All the schools are within a 6km radius from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar in Pasir Gudang, where 15 students suffered breathing difficulties, believed to be caused by air pollution in the area, on Thursday.

The closure will bring the number of schools closed to 17, including the three schools which were ordered to shut yesterday.

Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said the new four-day closure until Thursday (June 27) will involve Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Bukit Dahlia, SK Taman Cahaya Masai, SK Felda Cahaya Baru, SK Kong Kong Laut, SK Taman Nusa Damai, SK Kopok and SK Kota Masai 3.

The other schools are SK Taman Cendana, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Nusa Damai, SMK Pasir Gudang, SMK Kota Masai and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Pasir Gudang, SK Taman Scientex and SMK Taman Scientex.

“Also involved are public educational institutions, Johor government religious schools, all pre-schools and kindergartens,” he told reporters here today.

Khuzzan said the decision to close the schools, involving 20,108 students, was a precautionary measure after breathing difficulties and vomiting was reported again in the area at 11 am today.

He said, in the latest incident, firefighters rushed to the scene after receiving a call and screened students with early symptoms of shortness of breath and nausea.

“Up until 3.30pm, 13 victims have been referred to the Sultan Ismail Hospital and were in stable condition and 49 were receiving treatment at a temporary clinic at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council Indoor Stadium and Pasir Gudang Health Clinic,” he said.

To date, the Department of Environment (DOE) and other agencies were working to identify the true cause of the incident, he added.

“The victims’ blood so far shows everything negative to tests. All are normal with no indication of toxic effects,” he said.

Khuzzan said most of the students affected were those on the third and fourth floors of the school building, including those cases on Thursday, he said.