By ILONA ANDREW
KOTA KINABALU: A consignment of medical items consisting of about 170,000 face masks arrived in Sabah on Sunday.
The consignment which arrived on a chartered AirAsia plane at 3.15pm is donated by China to help Sabah battle the Covid-19 that has seen rising numbers of positive cases.
Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide handed over the goods to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal and his deputy Datuk Christina Liew at Terminal 2, Kota Kinabalu International Airport, here.
Also present were Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob and Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong.
Speaking to reporters, Shafie said another consignment of medical equipment will arrive in Sabah soon for the frontliners fighting the Covid-19 outbreak in the state.
“I have informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein about the matter, including about the experts we requested from China to help guide and train our doctors and nurses in handling this problem.
“So far, the Covid-19 situation in Sabah is still under control. The number of positive cases still remain at 179 with one fatality.
“However, we have identified several approaches to contain the outbreak, on how we can better manage the movement control order (MCO) to make it effective,” he said.
According to Shafie, some 3,000 people through the Community Development Leader Unit (UPPM) act as the machinery to send out food aid to villages on a daily basis.
“I know there are some food aid that have yet to be delivered (to the community) but we will ensure on channelling the aid (as soon as possible) because this is one approach that we can encourage people to stay at home.
“Encouraging them to stay at home without providing food aid while we strive to combat the outbreak will surely affect their health,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Shafie does not intend to halt the good intentions of certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who have come forward to help those affected by the MCO, but is just concerned for the members as they will be exposed to the virus.
“I know they want to give food aid, but there is a channel for that… We just want to reduce the risk (of spreading the virus to other people),” he said.
He advised NGOs who want to help to channel the aid through the proper government machinery to reduce movement of people, which defeats the purpose of the MCO.
“Their help is appreciated but the virus is not something to be taken lightly. I want them to work together with the machinery in each district,” he added.