Should schools reopen in Oct when 10 pct of Covid-19 cases in Bintulu yesterday involved kindergarteners?

Dato Sri Tiong King Sing

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Sept 9: Nine out of 99 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Bintulu yesterday involved minors under the age of 18 in three kindergartens.

As such, Bintulu MP Dato Sri Tiong King Sing called on the Ministry of Education (MOE) to discuss in detail and reconsider opening physical classes in October.

To him, even kindergartens and nurseries should also be temporarily closed until the surge in cases comes down.

“The Minister of Education had announced the decision to restart physical classes in October. But have they considered whether each school had made the necessary preparations to effectively implement strict SOPs (standard operating procedures) to prevent cases from spreading?” he questioned in a statement.

Tiong who is also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China said assumptions should not be made that vaccination alone is adequate protection against Covid-19 outbreaks.

Past experience, he said, had shown that policies made in haste or without forethought will be criticised repeatedly.

Should schools reopen again in the face of parents’ protests and demand for better protection, he predicted that MOE may have to make a U-turn decision and suspend classes yet again.

Tiong also revealed that of the 267 new cases in Bintulu yesterday, 231 were from Bintulu, 33 from Tatau, and three from Sebauh.

Taman Bandar Jaya and Taman Jason, the two housing estates that are under lockdown, yielded 75 and 46 confirmed cases respectively.

“Looking at this data over the past few days, I do hope that our Health Minister does not simply listen to one-sided briefings in department meetings, or be content with glowing positive messages that seem inspiring on the surface but hide the actual situation.

“On the contrary, we need to be courageous enough to face the on-the-ground reality of the pandemic and actively solve issues as they come.

“Otherwise, in the end, the people would just lose confidence in the government and make their leaders pay a hefty price,” said Tiong. — DayakDaily