The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is deeply concerned at the continuing rise in positive COVID-19 cases in Sabah.
Yesterday, a new cluster (Quarters cluster in Tongod, Sandakan) was detected, bringing the total number of clusters to six in the state.
What is more disturbing is seeing the SOPs openly being flouted in news coverage of the political gatherings there broadcast on national TV. Political leaders and their followers can be seen close to each other, while some aren’t wearing face masks.
Political leaders should be showing a good example in putting the health of the people there first. If such disregard for the SOPs continue, cases will rise further and spread across the state and before we know it, the authorities may be left with no option but to impose a statewide lockdown.
We must also ensure not to overwhelm hospitals there. The situation may be under control now but can easily turn into a nightmare for health care workers there if cases rise exponentially.
We urge the authorities to be stricter in enforcing the SOPs and ensure that all, including the political leaders fully comply.
We are also concerned about Sabahans traveling back to their hometowns from other states to cast their vote. MMA believes a quarantine may be necessary when they arrive back as a precautionary measure as there is risk of people letting their guard down when they are back in their hometowns.
As for polling day, the election commission will need to work closely with the police and RELA to ensure proper crowd control and that all fully adhere to the SOPs.
Dr N. Ganabaskaran is president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
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