Health Ministry wants symptomatic teachers, students to be exempted from attending school, says minister
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said teachers who could not attend school should inform the relevant District Health Office so that a letter could be issued to confirm they are carrying symptoms. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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PUTRAJAYA, April 26 — The Health Ministry (MOH) has suggested that a circular be issued to allow symptomatic teachers and students to skip school to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said MOH submitted this proposal to Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali and Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin after education cluster cases shot up by 83.3 per cent between April 11 and last Saturday.

“The circular should be issued because there are fears among teachers and students that action will be taken against them for not attending school although they have symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough and loss of sense of taste,” he told a weekly press conference on Covid-19 here today.

He said teachers who could not attend school should inform the relevant District Health Office so that a letter could be issued to confirm they are carrying symptoms.

 “Covid-19 screening tests will be immediately conducted on them and if found positive, reports will be made. We just want to remind teachers not to misuse this arrangement,” he added.

Also present at the press conference were Health deputy director-general (Research and Technical Support) Datuk Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim, Health deputy director-general (Public Health) Datuk Dr Chong Chee Kheong and director of Clinical Research Institute, National Institute of Health (NIH) Dr Kalaiarasu M. Peariasamy.

Dr Adham said symptomatic students should skip school straight away to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others in school.

“Symptomatic students should be allowed to skip school and should not be marked as absent although they stay at home,” he said.

Dr Adham said 23,779 students aged 12 and below had tested positive for Covid-19 so far this year.

“This is a sharp rise compared to the 8,369 cases involving students aged 12 and below last year,” he said.

He said about 60 per cent of all the Covid-19 cases reported between January 1 and April 25 this year did not have any “epid link”, meaning the sources of infection were unknown.

“They accounted for 170,173 cases and this is very high. Such sporadic cases are already in the community.

He said the three states with the most number of sporadic cases were Selangor with 65,215, Kuala Lumpur (19,834) and Johor (17,974).  — Bernama