Sabah to reopen more business sectors, says Shafie

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (left) meeting with Chinese experts on Covid-19 (right) who were accompanied by Chinese consul-general Liang Caide (second from left).

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will consider allowing certain sectors to reopen fully during the movement control order (MCO), said Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.

He said the state government needed to look at this carefully to ensure only appropriate sectors were permitted to resume operations.

“I know it is very important for us to be working closely with the private sector. We don’t want them to suffer but, at the same time, the health of our people is also very important.

“I’ve already instructed the state Covid-19 command centre to look into this.

“We will look at sector by sector and announce which will open soon,” he told reporters at his office here today.

He was speaking after receiving a courtesy call from Chinese experts on Covid-19 who are here to share their experience and knowledge about the virus.

Shafie said among the companies allowed to resume normal operations, starting today, were the Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal and the Sabah Ammonia Urea Plant in Sipitang.

Shafie said the state had informed Petronas that offshore workers were allowed to resume work on condition they were properly screened for Covid-19.

On the federal gazette allowing people from the same household to shop in pairs if necessary, he said the state government had yet to decide on this.

On the return of Sabah students from the peninsula and Sarawak, Shafie said the state had requested the higher education ministry to conduct preliminary tests on the students at their respective institutions before allowing them to board the plane home.

He said more than 7,000 students were scheduled to return to Sabah and the state did not have the capacity to place all of them at its quarantine centres.

“We have 24 centres. The biggest is at the Likas Sports Complex, which has almost 200 beds.

“So one approach is we have asked our ministers to get in touch with the ministry if it’s doable to screen the students at their places of study first.

“If they have no symptoms, and with the proper certification, once they reach Sabah we will only require them to undergo home quarantine. If they have symptoms, they must be quarantined at the hospital,” Shafie said.

He added that state-owned Sabah Foundation was managing the expenses of students from Sabah while the higher education ministry had agreed to bear the cost of air tickets for Sabah students in the peninsula.

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