KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — A total of 3,030 babies and children below 12 years of age contracted Covid-19 in Sabah as of November 19, according to the state government.
Children aged below five years comprised 41 per cent of this total, or 1,241 individuals, while 191 were infants below one year old.
Sabah’s Covid-19 spokesperson Masidi Manjun said the 3,030 infants and children below 12 years old represented 12.15 per cent of the state’s overall 24,929 Covid-19 cases as of November 19, based on a report by the Sabah state health department.
Sabah recorded another 512 new infections today, pushing the state’s cumulative Covid-19 cases to 25,441, comprising 48 per cent of Malaysia’s 52,638 cases.
Masidi, who is also Sabah local government and housing minister, did not give statistics to the press on the number of children who died from Covid-19 in the state.
Health authorities have so far reported coronavirus-related deaths of two infants in Sabah, a one-year-old baby boy on November 9 and a one-year-old baby girl on October 6. Two more Covid-19 fatalities involving children were also reported in Sabah, an eight-year-old girl on November 15 and a 14-year-old boy on November 3.
Masidi said today that so far, no children in Sabah have required referrals to psychiatric experts.
He said the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Service (MHPSS) provides psychological first aid (PFA) to all individuals affected by Covid-19 regardless of age, whether they have been infected by the virus or are under quarantine. This service is also extended to the public and staff affected by Covid-19.
“Children are also given PFA through the MHPSS team that will contact them through their respective caregivers. If they can’t be contacted, these children will be given PFA at treatment centres,” said Masidi.
PFA activities for children include art therapy, music and dance therapy, as well as storytelling. PFA is also given to children’s caregivers.
“Among the potential problems are stress, including stigma from the child’s environment,” said Masidi.
The Sabah Information Department has also run its “Info On Wheels” programme on Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), like hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing face masks, in 102 locations across 16 districts. The announcements are made in four languages: Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Kadazan and Bajau.