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By Nancy Nais
BALAI RINGIN, Oct 14: Minister of Youth and Sports Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah expressed concern over the impact of Covid-19 on mental health among youths.
The pandemic has resulted in closure of gyms, stadiums, pools, dance and fitness studios, physiotherapy centres, parks, playgrounds and many more for almost two years; hence, the youth have been unable to participate in exercise and physical activities as much as before.
“I confessed that I am worried over the current situation where our youths are unable to take part in sports as usual or actively participate in their regular individual or group sporting or physical activities outside of their homes.
“Under such conditions, many tend to be less physically active, have longer screen times or irregular sleep patterns resulting in weight gain and loss of physical fitness and this may impact mental health,” Abdu Karim told reporters at the Ziarah Belia Balai Ringin event here today.
As Covid-19 is here to stay and will continue to have considerable effects on people’s physical and mental wellbeing, Abdul Karim expressed hope that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), Ministry of Health (MoH) and National Security Council (MKN) will consider allowing more sports activities to resume.
Although Sarawak has entered Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), close contact sport activities remain prohibited.
“Of course, this is for safety and to guard our people from being infected with the virus. So let us all stand together by complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) at all times so that the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak will improve and eventually we can open up more sports activities.
“With the closure of schools and sport activities since March 2020, our children and youths’ development and achievements will definitely drop. I also believe this will put pressure on them, to some extent. However, I hope the effects are not drastic,” Abdul Karim said, adding that parents and guardians should also support physical activities at home. — DayakDaily