Govt mulls closing schools again after Sabah student infected

The government had put in place a slew of safety measures for students returning to school, including social distancing and the use of face masks.

PETALING JAYA: Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob says the government is considering the possibility of shutting down schools again following a case in Sabah where a primary school student recently tested positive for Covid-19.

“I understand that the education ministry is looking at this in detail now,” he said when asked about the situation.

“We will wait for their decision on whether they will allow (students in) Year One to Three to keep going to school, or only allow those sitting for major government examinations,” he added.

“I’m sure the education ministry will announce their decision soon.”

Sabah health director Dr Christina Rundi said the student tested positive after visiting a government clinic on Monday.

Covid-19 tests have since been carried out on the pupil’s 37 classmates, their parents, and eight teachers, all of whom were also ordered to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Schools in the country were closed for nearly four months due to the movement control order implemented on March 18.

They began reopening in stages, with Form Five and Six students sitting for major government examinations allowed to return to the classroom on June 24.

Preschools and kindergartens resumed classes on July 1 while students from Year One to Four returned to school on July 22.

On the rule for face masks to be worn in public places which comes into effect on Saturday, Ismail said it would be up to the police to decide what action to take against those who disobey.

Adding that the rule had been gazetted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, Ismail said the police could issue a compound immediately to those found without face masks in public places.

“They can also give advice… We leave it up to them.”