Sabah authorities kept busy handling false WhatsApp messages

Sabah health director Dr Christina Rundi says a WhatsApp message that two Covid-19 patients had fled from a hospital is false.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah authorities, particularly the state health department and police, had their hands full today not only in ensuring the movement control order (MCO) is enforced but also dealing with fake information.

Earlier today, there were claims on social media that fish markets in several districts in the state had been classified as Covid-19 “red zones”.

Another claim was that two people who tested positive to the virus had escaped from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) here. The photos of these two were also posted online.

Sabah health director Dr Christina Rundi has, however, dismissed both claims as untrue.

“The message about the red zones is not true.

“The one on the two Covid-19 patients is also not true as they were actually allowed to return home on March 18 after they tested negative for the virus,” she said in a statement today.

She added both of them were earlier classified as persons under investigation (PUI) and were warded at QEH on March 15 because of their history of being exposed to a Covid-19 patient.

“Both were instructed to be under home quarantine while under the Health Department’s observation.

“The public is advised not to panic and also not to spread such unverified information on Covid-19, like the places contaminated by the virus,” Rundi said.

Sabah police chief Zaini Jass.

Sabah police chief Zaini Jass told FMT that a viral message claiming business premises such as eateries, fuel stations and convenience stores will not be allowed to open, starting from 7pm today till 7am tomorrow, had nothing to do with Sabah.

The message, which was shared widely in WhatsApp groups here, also claimed that the authorities are about to impose a full lockdown because some citizens had been stubborn in abiding with the MCO.

A new report had stated that the Pahang government had tightened the MCO in the state by ordering the closure of several business premises in five districts, starting from 7pm to 7am. They included 24-hour joints.

Asked if Sabah would impose such a move, Zaini replied “no”.

Sabah now has 112 confirmed Covid-19 cases, up from 103 yesterday.

Sabah is now the third-highest with people infected with Covid-19 after Selangor (223 cases) and Kuala Lumpur (123 cases).