Reopening of non-exam classes in Sarawak red zones deferred again

Desmond Davidson

Pupils in Sarawak's red zones were to have returned to school on August 3. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, July 29, 2020.

THE reopening of non-exam classes in the Covid-19 red-zone districts of Kuching, Padawan and Samarahan in Sarawak has been delayed again.

The state Disaster Management Committee announced today that pupils in transition classes, Primary levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Forms 1, 2, 3, and 4, and Lower 6 in the three districts will only return to school on August 17.

They were to have returned to school on August 3.

Form 5 and Upper 6 classes in the red-zone districts that returned to school earlier will not be affected.

The decision was made on the advice of the state government, state Security Committee and Education Ministry.

The Disaster Management Committee said in a statement today that, initially, the closure was only for 164 schools but the order has now been extended to another 49 schools.

Another 25 schools in Padawan and 24 in Samarahan have been ordered to remain closed, bringing the total number of schools affected to 213.

Schools in other parts of the state are unaffected by the closure order.

Sarawak reported another two new Covid-19 cases today – both detected in ongoing contact-tracing exercises in two of its 10 active clusters.

The new cases bring the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in the state to 677.

One was detected in Kuching while the other was in Serian, a district some 60km from the state capital.

The Kuching case involves a mother whose daughter was a positive case in the Sentosa cluster, while the Serian case is of a foreigner who had close contact with a victim in the Mambong cluster.

The Disaster Management Committee said it has also roped in the assistance of civil society group Sarawak Volunteers to assist pupils who needed help to registration for matriculation courses at various tertiary institutes in the peninsula, Sabah and Labuan next week.

Current health protocols, such as undergoing mandatory quarantine upon their return to Sarawak and travel restrictions, have made it difficult for parents to accompany their children for registration.

Some 1,145 students are expected to register at 16 institutes in the peninsula and Labuan.

Sarawak’s 10 clusters and the current number of infections since the spike in cases are:

Kuching engineering firm cluster: 8
Mambong: 8 (including 1 new case today)
Medical centre: 3
Jupiter (LNG tanker): 3
Stutong market: 7
Kuching jetty fishermen: 2
Sentosa Hospital: 31
Melbourne: 3
Kuching construction company: 2
Satok market: 4. – July 29, 2020.

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