KUCHING (May 4): Parents working in the essential services sector in Sarawak’s Covid-19 red zones can now send their children to taska or childcare centres, said Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
She said Taskas which were previously approved by her ministry to house children of frontliners can now extend their services to children whose parents belong to this sector effective from tomorrow (May 5) onwards.
“After referring to the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), we have decided that these taska are allowed to take in children of essential service providers,” she told a press conference at her office in Baitulmakmur Building here.
She pointed out that under the essential services list, it includes those who are working in the manufacturing, construction, logistics businesses as well as agriculture and commodities sectors among others.
“Those in the services sector such as automotive (repair and maintenance service only); financial services and its chain of supply; municipal and local government services; telecommunication and digital infrastructure including ICT services and global business services; e-commerce and its supply chain including e-marketplace services, digital payments and local e-commerce internet centres; hotels and lodging; utilities (water and power); and more are including under this list,” she said.
Fatimah reminded that the taska operators must apply for approval to operate from the ministry’s Early Childhood Development Division.
“They can only operate after obtaining approval from the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development as this is crucial for the purpose of monitoring from our end,” she said.
As of April 30, she said her ministry has received 78 applications from taska operators of which 65 were approved involving 187 children of frontliners.
“There were 12 taska which were not approved because they did not have children of frontliners while one Taska’s application was not approved as it was not registered yet,” she said.
She said taska that have been approved to operate must ensure that the standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the ministry must be strictly implemented and fully complied with by operators, educators or caregivers, parents and children in order to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The same also applies to taska which are not under Covid-19 red zones. They are allowed to operate as usual but they must make sure that they adhere to the SOP,” she added.
She said if a child or family member is unwell, they are not allowed to go to their childcare centre and the parents must inform the Taska concerned on the matter.
Last month, it was announced that all education institutions including kindergartens and taska were to close for two weeks effective April 20. The closure has since been extended to May 10.
As of April 30, there are 2,795 kindergartens and 234 taska registered in Sarawak of which the closure under Covid-19 red zones involved 2,518 kindergartens and 213 taska.