PUTRAJAYA – Public health intervention in Sabah had already begun two weeks before the announcement of the COVID-19 test requirement, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said the Health Ministry had been giving daily reports in terms of detection because public health intervention was already in place earlier.
“The state (Sabah) at that point of time had also issued directives for the closure of markets, the army helped in strengthening border controls, and one week before state election we already had 98 roadblocks in place.
“The only difference was that we did not announce it. But, activities had already been done at the ground level,” he told a press conference here Oct 1.
Giving examples, Dr Noor Hisham said the deployment of doctors, nurses, staff and equipment including 139 ventilators to Sabah was also done earlier.
He said this when asked why testing was not imposed earlier than Sept 27.
“On Sept 27, people were going home, if we had implemented it on Sept 25, it would become an issue as if we are stopping people from going back to Sabah for the election,” he said.
On Sept 26, Dr Noor Hisham announced that all arrivals from Sabah would have to undergo COVID-19 screening at international entry points from Sept 27 to Oct 10.
Dr Noor Hisham said six hospitals in Sabah were recognised as COVID-19 hospitals, namely Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu, Duchess of Kent Hospital in Sandakan, Tawau Hospital, Keningau Hospital, Lahad Datu Hospital and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Likas.