KOTA KINABALU: Nine schools in the country with seven of them in Sabah have been ordered to close down temporarily due to the hand, foot and mouth (HFMD) disease, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
Met after his maiden visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here today, Dr Dzulkefly said apart from the schools, four nurseries, 10 kindergartens and pre-schools, and four classrooms in the state were also shut down due to HFMD.
“There is a total of 2,200 cases of HFMD in Sabah to date. The nationwide cases are recorded at 40,198 so far, with an average of 73 cases detected weekly,” he said.
The highest number of cases have been detected in the state capital, Beaufort, Penampang and Sandakan with all districts in Sabah having recorded cases of HFMD.
Dr Dzulkefly, nonetheless said there was no urgency for the temporary closure of all schools countrywide.
There is no need for such an aggressive intervention but instead the operators of premises such as nurseries, kindergartens and pre-schools must ensure the cleanliness of their surroundings.
“The teachers or caregivers should also maintain their own hygiene especially when handling children and food stuff,” he said, adding that these steps were sufficient to control the spread of the disease.
“Hopefully the trend will go down in the coming one week,” Dr Dzulkefly said.
At the same time, he said his ministry was working closely with counterparts in the Education Ministry and welfare department, among others, to monitor the matter.
Besides Sabah, the other two schools temporarily closed down were in Penang and Pahang.
During the visit Dr Dzulkefly was given a briefing by the hospital director Dr Heric Corey. Also on hand was State People’s Health and Wellbeing Minister, Stephen Wong.-SabahNewsToday