Flights bringing back Sabah IPT students resume operation

KOTA KINABALU: Flights bringing back students from institutions of higher learning (IPT) to Sabah will resume operations today, said the state’s Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob.

He said four flights from Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak would bring back 1,027 IPT students to Sabah followed by another four flights on Thursday involving 906 students.

“The next flights are scheduled on May 27 and 28. The subsequent flight dates would be announced later,” he said in a statement, here, today.

Prior to this, flights bringing back IPT students to Sabah were cancelled beginning Monday and rescheduled to facilitate students admission into quarantine centres in the state.

Yusof said the state government has tried to bring back all students before Aidilfitri and Kaamatan Festival, however due to several factors such as the need to fulfill the Sabah Health Department’s standard operating procedure (SOP) and the issue of not enough quarantine centres, the intention could not be realised.

He hopes all students would understand their respective responsibilities to together curb the spread of COVID-19 in Sabah.

According to Yusof, the state government is very strict in ensuring the movements of the students returning home adhered to the stipulated SOP following five positive cases among IPT students, to date.

“To students whose turn to balik kampung are not on flights scheduled before Hari Raya and Pesta Kaamatan, please be patient and stay calm at their respective lodgings. It is important that all students who return home are really healthy to avoid infecting their families,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yusof said the Sabah government expressed their appreciations and thanks to the Federal government for agreeing to the suggestion that all Sabah IPT students undergo COVID-19 samplings before returning to the state.

The decision is the best solution in overcoming the shortage of quarantine centres and congestions in existing ones in Sabah, as students with negative result would be allowed to spend the rest of their quarantine time at home, he said.