KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A primary school in Sabah, Malaysia, will close temporarily after six of its pupils tested positive for the H1N1 flu virus.
The SK Stella Maris will be closed from Wednesday (Jan 22) to next Tuesday, following a directive from the Kota Kinabalu Health Department.
Sabah Health and People's Wellbeing Minister Frankie Poon said on Tuesday the issue was not serious and that closing the school temporarily was just one way to handle the situation.
"I have heard about this only over the last one hour, so I cannot provide more details on the background of the pupils. It is not an epidemic," said Datuk Poon.
He added that the ministry does not want the disease to spread, with the Chinese New Year celebrations just round the corner.
"We have sent the pupils involved home. It is not fatal unless those infected have serious health complications. They just need to go back and rest, wash their hands often and wear face masks," he said when met after attending an event on Tuesday.
On the possibility of an insufficient supply of the H1N1 flu vaccine in Sabah, Mr Poon said there was no reason to worry as the sudden shortage might be due to an increase in the number of people down with the illness.
"There is a continuous supply of the vaccine coming into state," he added.
Sabah health director Christina Rundi said she was informed that there was pressure from the school's parent-teacher association to close the school.
"We do not need to close the school unless the premises were the source of infection.
"In this matter, the decision was made by the district health officer. We will look at the criteria first before making a decision," she said, adding that they would monitor the cases and situation closely.