Press statement by MP for Kota Kinabalu and DAP Sabah Secretary, Chan Foong Hin on 22 August 2021:
Healthcare system in Sabah in the brink of collapse due to being overwhelmed and severely understaffed due to surge in Covid-19 patients, federal government urged to deploy more healthcare resources
DAP Member of Parliament (MP) for Kota Kinabalu, Chan Foong Hin today urged the federal government to deploy, and if necessary, to redirect, into Sabah more healthcare personnel, resources and vaccine supply from other states to deal with the exponential increase in Covid-19 cases in Sabah over the past few days.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is raging and the people in Sabah has been hit hard, especially starting from the past few days. There were 2,651 new Covid-19 cases in Sabah yesterday, and out of them, 1,418 of them were recorded in the four districts of Greater Kota Kinabalu, namely the districts of Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Putatan, and Tuaran. This amounts to more than half of all cases,”
He further stressed the severity of the situation as the total of 1,418 cases means that one person is getting infected with Covid-19 almost every single minute in Greater Kota Kinabalu.
Chan said so after handing over two 20×20 large tents to Dr. Lee Wai Khew, the director of Luyang Health Clinic near Jalan Lintas this morning.
“Even Luyang Health Clinic is not a Covid-19 treatment center, but over the past two weeks, many patients with Covid-19 symptoms have attended the clinic for consultations. As informed, there are in between 30 to 50 patients almost every day suspected of carrying Covid-19,” said Chan.
Therefore, in order to further distinguish between suspected Covid-19 patients and the general public, the clinic had to conduct more stringent screenings outside the clinic. After Chan had learned of this situation, he quickly arranged these two tents this morning. This is to isolate patients with suspected Covid-19 and to have separate waiting areas for other general patients to prevent the spread of the virus.
“It is certainly a race of time between vaccinations and Covid-19 infecting new patients. It is only after the vaccination rate reaches a considerable proportion of the population can the graph of transmission be suppressed.
So why are vaccination centres in Sabah like PPV in Beaufort district, and Tawau district are once again reporting shortage of vaccines that they had to defer and postpone vaccination appointment for 1st doses?
It is time to prioritise Sabahans and start redirecting vaccines from other states to Sabah. The federal government ought to take the situation in Sabah seriously, our healthcare system do not have the capacity to deal with large surges in cases unlike in the Klang Valley,” said Chan.
Chan said medical experts had long predicted that the Covid-19 pandemic in Sabah will remain at its peak over the next eight weeks. QE2’s specialist clinics have been temporarily closed as their staff has been despatched to the Covid-19 treatment center at QE1. As a result of the same, general outpatients were redirected to clinics of government like Luyang Health Clinic.
“There are 1,258 beds in the Sabah’s Covid-19 Hospital, and the utilisation rate has already exceeded 99%. In other words, we have reached a stage where if you were to unfortunately suffer from Covid-19, here may not be a bed in the hospital for you. Asymptomatic patients with Covid-19 can only be isolated at home,” said Chan
“At this point in time, if you don’t need to, please don’t go outside and just stay at home. Greater Kota Kinabalu area is soon to be like how the Klang Valley had been a month ago. Without the government’s pouring of large amounts of medical resources into the Sabah, it is likely that the situation will go out of control. Please cherish your life and treat the pandemic seriously,” said Chan.