Oil palm estates to reopen in six Sabah districts

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has given a conditional approval for oil palm plantations and mills in six east coast districts to restart operations after they were shuttered on March 30.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the state had agreed for the plantations and mills in Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Semporna, Kunak and Kalabakan to restart with four conditions.

Other than the absence of any Covid-19 cases, there must not be any Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) in the plantations and mills, he said.

The workers must also not be in close contact with any patient or PUIs. All of them must observe the guidelines issued by the Sabah Health Department meant to reduce the risk of contracting the disease, he said in a statement yesterday.

The managements of the plantations must also appoint a health supervisor to oversee estate clinics.

Estates without clinics are required to set up screening centres as put in place by the Health Ministry.

Shafie said there were forms to fill to track the health condition of workers as well as their travel history, including those who just returned to Sabah.

“Plantations must prepare quarantine centres for workers who have just returned to Sabah, ” he added.

Shafie warned that any plantation or mill found to have workers with Covid-19, PUIs or those who came into close contact with those with Covid-19 would have the permission to operate withdrawn.

As of Thursday, of the 248 cases detected in Sabah, the six east coast districts accounted for 131 cases, or nearly 53% of the cases. Tawau is a red zone with 67 cases, followed by Lahad Datu with 38 cases.

Meanwhile, hardware shops in Sabah are allowed to operate only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9am to 3pm.

In a statement yesterday, state secretary Datuk Safar Untong said local authorities (PBT) would determine which shops could operate in their respective districts.

He said only three shops would be permitted to open in Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan, Keningau, Lahad Datu, Penampang, Tuaran, Beaufort, Ranau, Papar, Sipitang, Tenom and Kudat.

“For other districts, only two hardware shops are allowed to operate, with the respective PBTs, to ensure compliance, ” he said.

Safar said among the rules were maintaining social distancing and limiting the number of customers at any one time.

Source : The Star

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