All schools in Sabah to close for two weeks after teacher dies from Covid-19, official says

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PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - All schools in the Malaysian state of Sabah will be closed for two weeks following the death of a teacher on Friday (Oct 2) due to Covid-19, and half of the state government's workers have been ordered to work from home.

A high-ranking Education Ministry official said the drastic action to shut schools came about due to a new surge of the coronavirus in Sabah in the last few weeks.

The official told The Star that the ministry was also monitoring two schools in Terengganu.

Sabah Education Department (JPN) director Mistrine Radin, speaking about the teacher's death, said details were confidential. A check with the Semporna Hospital in Sabah confirmed that a teacher had died there.

The hospital's director is in talks with the ministry regarding a statement, according to a hospital staff who declined to be named.

Dr Mistirine confirmed that a male teacher had died due to the virus but she was unable to give further details.

She said all 50 schools in the district had been closed due to the enhanced movement control order (MCO) taking effect until Oct 12.

Semporna is among the four red zone districts under enhanced MCO at present.

There are a total of 388 Covid-19 cases in Semporna as of Oct 1.

The other red zones are Tawau with 781 cases, Lahad Datu (304) and Kunak 149 cases.

Meanwhile, State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong said the instructions for 50 per cent of the workforce for any team, department or agency to work from home was issued on Sept 25.

This instruction would be in force for 14 days starting on Oct 5, he said.

"All department chiefs and heads must restructure their workforce to ensure a smooth transition of work, and to arrange timetables with priorities given to essential services," he said in a statement on Friday.

Malaysia reported 260 new coronavirus cases on Thursday (Oct 1), its biggest daily spike in infections since June 4, mostly due to an outbreak in Sabah state, the health ministry said.

Malaysia has reported a total of 11,484 cases of the virus so far, including 136 deaths.

The jump in cases came after a surge in travel to and from Sabah for the state elections held last Saturday (Sept 26).

The Malaysian government on Thursday announced a ban on travel between all 27 districts in Sabah.

The travel restrictions will start at midnight on Saturday (Oct 3) and will be enforced for 14 days until Oct 16.

Senior Minister (security cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said only essential services such as food supplies and medical and security services that require travel between districts will still be allowed during this period.

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