KOTA KINABALU — The Education Ministry wants district education offices, principals, headmasters and Parents-Teacher Associations to form teams in every school to monitor and take preventive measures against Zika virus infection.
The minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, said the formation of the teams was needed as a proactive measure to monitor the health of teachers and students, besides ensuring cleanliness of schools.
“Parents also need to refer their children immediately to the nearest health clinic or hospital if they show symptoms of Zika virus infection,” he said after opening Penampang Umno divisional delegates’ meeting yesterday.
Also present was Penampang Umno chief Datuk John Ambrose.
Mahdzir also said the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination, which began last Thursday, would continue according to schedule and that the ministry would take precautionary measures to ensure everything was in order in the wake of Zika cases in the country.
Malaysia recorded its first Zika case on Thursday when a woman in Klang, Selangor, tested positive for the disease a week after her return from Singapore on Aug 21.
On Saturday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam confirmed that a male patient from Sabah, the first locally transmitted case of Zika virus infection in the country, died due to complications from his underlying heart condition.
The patient was a 61-year-old male Dusun residing in Taman Public Jaya Likas, Sabah.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman wants Kota Kinabalu City Hall and all local authorities to mount a massive gotong royong campaign to clean up their areas in light of the first Zika virus infection in the state.
According to him, the relevant authorities must step up measures to ensure areas under their jurisdiction were free of mosquito breeding grounds.
He urged elected representatives and community leaders to be proactive, conduct awareness campaigns on mosquito-related diseases and engage in gotong royong to keep their areas from becoming potential mosquito breeding grounds.
“This matter is not to be taken lightly. We all must play our roles and keep our surroundings clean and not play hosts to mosquitoes that spread diseases like dengue and the even more worrying Zika virus,” he said in a statement.
Musa also wanted local authorities to use the full arm of the law against those who ignored calls to clean up their surroundings, especially construction sites that often became breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
In Alor Star, activities to rid Kedah of Aedes mosquito breeding grounds will be intensified in an effort to prevent the spread of Zika virus in the state.
Environment, Chinese, Indian and Siamese community affairs and unity committee chairman Datuk Dr Leong Yong Kong said anti-Aedes awareness campaign would also be intensified.
“I have spoken to state health director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail and we will call for a state-level meeting soon,” he said yesterday.
Dr Leong said no Zika case had been reported in the state so far, but preventive measures, as outlined by the Health Ministry, had been taken. — Bernama