Wednesday, July 8

Still safe to visit Sandakan market after Covid-19 case detected


The fish market in Sandakan Central Market where the positive Covid-19 case was detected.

SANDAKAN: The health authority assured that it is still safe to go to the Sandakan Central Market after the 22nd Covid-19 positive case in Sandakan was detected there.

Health Director General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday confirmed the case after a series of WhatsApp messages reminded the people not to go to the market.

Sandakan District Health Officer Dr Johari Awang Besar said the public should not be worried and panic and it is still safe to go to the market.

“I may not be able to comment further on the positive case as it is under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry, but I would like to assure the public that it is safe to go to the market as long as they practice necessary precautions such as social distancing, wear mask and use hand sanitizer.

“The Sandakan District Health Office had informed Sandakan Municipal Council (SMC)’s president on the need to conduct disinfection at the area (fish section of the central market), and he will inform when the market needs to be closed for that purpose.

“The positive person is not a fishmonger (who sells) inside the market, but we fear that he may have entered the fish market. This case was detected during our surveillance activity, in which we performed health screening on all hawkers and sellers in the market,” he said.

During the first week of screening, which was conducted during office hours, Dr Johari said a lot of fishmongers were not in the market because they were outside. There was no positive Covid-19 case detected during that round of screening.

“During the second week, which was on Sunday from 12am to 3am, the screening was targeted on hawkers and sellers outside the market. This was where the (possibly) positive case was detected.

“Following this development, we are going to expand the target group for Covid-19 screening in the market. If the results come out negative, it means that the condition at the market is very good, and there is no cluster spreading,” he explained.

Dr Johari said the screening involved symptoms and movement screening, followed by a swab sample to be taken for Covid-19 test when needed.

“People do not need to panic. Just do your business inside the market as quickly as possible, wash your hands after you leave; put on your face mask properly and practise safe social distancing,” he said.

As he did not want to reveal further information about the positive person, the Borneo Post believes that the positive person is a fishmonger that sells fish outside the central market at the parking lot from 12am until 5am daily.

Meanwhile, SMC president Wong Foo Tin yesterday asked members of the public who had visited the wholesale seafood market (outside Sandakan Central Market), and the fish market in Sandakan Central Market from June 14 to 28 to be alert of their health condition.

“They are advised to take care of their health and if they experience any symptoms (of Covid-19), please go to Hospital Duchess of Kent or a health clinic nearby for Covid-19 screening, immediately,” he said.

Sandakan has not recorded any new positive Covid-19 case since April 18.