Mounting medical waste sparks concerns


Pictures taken by a concerned member of the public showing piles of medical waste at the company’s premises in Lok Kawi.

KOTA KINABALU: The State government will look into concerns raised by the public over the disposal of hazardous medical waste in Lok Kawi, which has apparently become a problem due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Sabah.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun announced this during the Sabah Covid-19 Current Development Press Conference yesterday in response to a question posed by a reporter on Thursday.

According to reports, a company operating locally had been handling the state’s hospital medical waste for years and due to the large number of cases in Sabah, huge piles of bags filled with Covid-19 medical waste have not only filled the company’s premises but also spilled over to the roadside.

This has sparked health concern in the area and complaints were channeled to the media in Sabah regarding the matter.

“It is a very serious sort of thing to do and at this point of time, since this is the first time that I am hearing this report, I am not able to give you a specific answer but if you do give us the details, we will be more than happy to refer this to the relevant department so that actions can be taken,” Masidi said.

“Thank you very much. I think that is a very good feedback. We appreciate this report,” Masidi, who is official Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson, told the press member during the live Zoom interview.

Earlier during the press conference, up to November 2020, he said 829 people have been screened in Kampung Nahaba and Kg Tegudon in Kota Belud.

“Of this total, 44 have been found positive and 785 negative, making the positive (Covid-19 cases) percentage 5.3%,” he said, adding the government is coordinating the distribution of food baskets to the affected area.

In addition, he said political leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have assisted in the supply of wet food like vegetables, chicken, fish and daily goods such as diapers and soap.

He said the government will also provide Covid-19 assistance for people like farmers and fishermen who are registered with the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry.

Masidi also revealed, up to November 26, 734 health personnel have been cumutively detected as Covid-19 positive.

“Of this total, 85% (11.6%) are of active status and 666 (89%) have been reported as recovered. A total of 490 are undergoing quarantine order,” he detailed.

The Minister also commented on the Covid-19 mutation of D614G or superspreader found among the Benteng LD Cluster in Sabah on September 2020, which was reported by Malaysia Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

“Up to November 25, 2020, a total of 1,157 positive cases have been related to the Benteng LD Cluster, while the D614G variant related to other clusters have not been proven,” he said.

“The Covid-19 infection clusters cases in Peninsular, Sarawak and Labuan that have been cause identified from Sabah have been given the prefix ‘Bah’. Starting from late September 2020 till today, a total of 25 clusters have been identified as caused from the infection in Sabah,” he added.