KOTA KINABALU: Tawau is now a red zone or novel coronavirus (Covid-19) hotspot due to its significant increase in positive cases.
Nevertheless, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal said the situation in Tawau was not that serious and could still be contained.
He said the Covid-19 cases did not originate from Tawau, but the tabligh group who returned from Sulawesi.
Shafie said he had instructed the police and immigration to ensure the tabligh members are quarantined for three to four weeks at the quarantine centre in Tawau.
“If we do not accept them, they will probably enter via ‘laluan tikus’ (illegal pathways) into Nabawan, Pensiangan, Kuala Penyu and Beaufort and have contact with their children and families.
“It is best for us to accept the tabligh members and quarantine them in Tawau, rather than they take illegal pathways that are beyond our control and risk infecting other people,” he said.
Nevertheless, Shafie said the situation in Tawau was not that serious and could still be contained.
The State Government has granted special permission to 23 Malaysians to enter Sabah through the CIQS in Tawau, said State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong.
Safar, who is also chairman of the Sabah Covid-19 Command Centre, said the 23 included 12 tabligh members who participated in a religious gathering in Gowa Sulawesi. The other 11 are civillians.