KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — The Defence Ministry announced today that four districts in Sabah — Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kunak, and Semporna — would be placed under an administrative Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) from midnight.
Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement on the lockdown — which will affect 962,661 residents in those districts in the east coast of Sabah — was issued to the media at about 3:15pm today, just about nine hours before the TEMCO comes into effect at 12.01am on September 29 until October 12.
Ismail Sabri cited Ministry of Health (MOH) statistics that recorded 1,195 positive Covid-19 cases in those districts from September 1 to 27, with the highest reported in Tawau at 634 cases, followed by Semporna (255 cases), Lahad Datu (241 cases), and Kunak (65 cases).
“Looking at the number of cases, the government, based on advice by the health minister, has decided to implement an administrative Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) in these areas,” Ismail Sabri said in a statement.
Residents living in the areas under lockdown will not be allowed to leave the TEMCO areas throughout the duration of the order. Non-residents and visitors are also prohibited from entering the affected districts.
All business activities in the four Sabah districts will be halted, except for essential goods and services. A medical base will be opened in the areas under TEMCO. All entry pathways to the districts under TEMCO will be closed.
Residents who need assistance or who have any questions can call the district police headquarters’ hotline at:
Lahad Datu : 089-881255
Tawau : 089-752222
Kunak : 089-851222
Semporna : 089-782020
The government’s lockdown order came shortly after the Sabah state election — which saw politicians from all over the country campaigning in the state — concluded last Saturday following a two-week campaign.
As multiple cases were reported in the peninsula and Sarawak involving people who previously travelled to Sabah, Covid-19 has now spread to Kuala Lumpur and eight states in the past week, except for Perak and Perlis, while Kedah battles an outbreak and Penang still has four active cases.
Mandatory testing was implemented since yesterday at airports for all arrivals from Sabah. However, unlike returnees from abroad who are subjected to 14-day quarantine at designated centres, people returning from Sabah will be released from home quarantine if they test negative for Covid-19. RT-PCR test results usually come out in a few days.
The incubation period for Covid-19 is 14 days; people can still infect others even before they display symptoms of the viral disease.