Sabah Opposition urges state govt to step up action amid surge in Covid-19 cases

Penampang MP Datuk Darell Leiking reminded the federal government that Sabah was promised first dibs on the single-dose vaccine CanSino which arrived in Malaysia last week. — China Daily pic via Reuters
Penampang MP Datuk Darell Leiking reminded the federal government that Sabah was promised first dibs on the single-dose vaccine CanSino which arrived in Malaysia last week. — China Daily pic via Reuters

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KOTA KINABALU,Aug 24 — The Opposition has warned the government that Sabah’s health system is on the brink of collapse again as it deals with unprecedented numbers of Covid-19 cases which has hit another record today.

DAP’s state secretary Chan Fong Hin and Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking appealed to both the state and federal governments to immediate steps to speed vaccination progress and steps to control the spread.

Chan said that vaccination was “horribly slow” and coupled with the increasing number of new cases, was stretching the health services in the state beyond its limits.

“We are now in deep, deep trouble as the trend over the past few days seem to indicate that cases will only further skyrocket,” Chan, the Sabah DAP secretary said referring to Sabah’s record-breaking new cases since last week.

“The horribly slow vaccination rate in Sabah will only lead to more stage three to stage five cases, which no doubt Sabah’s healthcare system do not have the capacity to cope with,” he said.

Chan, who is Kota Kinabalu MP said that the state government under Gabungan Rakyat Sabah must address the surge in Covid-19 cases as there was no doubt the case could go totally out of control if right steps are not put in place.

Chan said that the GRS government was wrong to abolish the Health portfolio set up by the previous Warisan Plus government and rely on the federal Ministry of Health.

“The state government should stop being passive. Sabah needs more than just a Covid-19 spokesperson. We need a health minister in the Sabah State Cabinet who will be able to take drastic actions for the sake of the people,” he added.

Meanwhile, Leiking, Penampang MP, said that the federal government must explain why there were delays in the promised supplies of vaccines to Sabah as reported by the Malay Mail today.

He reminded the federal government that Sabah was promised first dibs on the single-dose vaccine CanSino which arrived in Malaysia last week.

“The state government must enlighten us — did they actually receive the 200,000 doses that arrived at KLIA and fully utilised it in the course of three days or did they receive a lesser amount?

“If the GRS-led state government aspires to vaccinate 50,000 Sabahans a day and the batch of 200,000 doses of CanSino vaccine had indeed been delivered to Sabah, which barely lasts for four days — what’s next after this first batch is finished?” he asked.

He also asked if the current shortage was a deliberate move that was agreed upon with the plan that the CanSino vaccine will be replacing other brands like Pfizer that the state has been receiving.

Leiking took the government to task for “sitting passively and wait for our turn” to receive the vaccines which he said will likely take time.

“This probably may be due in a month or so, in view that some of the Malay Rulers in Peninsula are now also demanding strongly for the latter to speed up the vaccination programme in their respective states.

He said that Warisan was ready to assist the government in the pandemic but that it was ultimately up to the Cabinet to make demands from the federal government and embark on a full-scale mobile vaccination to reach each and every Sabahan.

Sabah today recorded its highest number of Covid 19 cases yet at 3,376, though the state government says most of it was from a huge backlog. It has been recording cases upwards of 2,000 but today breached 3,000 cases.

Out of more than 31,000 active cases, 4,705 are receiving treatment, which consists of 1,385 at hospitals, 3,289 in the low risk quarantine centres, 18 in temporary detention centres or prisons, 195 in ICUs and 79 who are in need of ventilators.

It is unclear what capacity the hospitals are at.

Meanwhile, some 31.4 per cent of the registered adult population in the state has received both doses, the lowest rate in the country by far.

The state was aiming at giving out 50,000 jabs per day this month, but has fallen short in the last two days, with only 44,430 jabs today and 41,289 jabs yesterday. This was reportedly due to rationing of jabs following a delay in the vaccine supply from Peninsular Malaysia.

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