Student flights to Sabah halted as quarantine centres fill up

Students preparing to go home after arriving at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

KOTA KINABALU: State health authorities have suspended the return of Sabah students from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak because quarantine centres in Sabah are filling up.

The federal higher education ministry has cancelled all flights for students returning to Sabah at the request of the Sabah Health Department.

State education minister Yusof Yacob said the flights would be rescheduled depending on the situation at the quarantine centres.

Malaysia Airports Bhd general manager Sunip Naiman confirmed that all the chartered flights had been cancelled.

The health authorities stopped allowing returning students to be quarantined at home after a spike of 10 new Covid-19 cases were reported earlier this week.

Students queuing for flights back to their respective hometowns.

However, the government quarantine centres would not be able to cope with the large number of students and others returning to Sabah. “The state government was also looking at ways to avoid placing students in an uncomfortable situation inside the centres,” said Yusof.

The higher education ministry is responsible for coordinating the students’ return and also manages all the chartered flights for the returning students.

There are 11,653 students from Sabah in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak. Some have returned since the federal government relaxed travel restrictions on April 27.

There are over 24 quarantine centres across Sabah.

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