On 17 January, Health Director-General (DG) Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had in a statement reported a 400% increase in Covid-19 clusters involving education institutions after schools reopened on 9 January.
“The sharp increase in education clusters need to be taken seriously by all parties as it can lead to a wide spread among students, teachers, staff and their family members of educational institutes which later spreads to the community,” he said.
In response to the Health DG’s warning, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said any decision on the school session would be made after a report on the increase in education clusters was obtained by the pro tem committee.
He added that the Ministry of Education (MoE) had been requested to submit a report on the sharp increase in education clusters to the pro tem committee chaired by Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“If we are to close the schools, parents will be worried about the future of their children because online learning is not fully accessed by everyone.”
“Several changes have been made by the MoE and the issue here is the sharp increase in cases. I have asked the MoE to submit the report to the pro tem committee. In terms of the decision, we will wait for the pro tem committee to discuss the report,” he said, reported Bernama.
According to the records, about 70% or 62 out of the 89 new clusters reported by the Ministry of Health (MoH) for the period from 15 January to 21 January, involved educational institutions.
The highest number of education clusters was reported on 19 January with 16 out of 20 new clusters detected involving educational institutions.
Previously, Dr Noor Hisham had stressed that the standard operating procedures (SOP) must also be followed before, during and after school sessions.
“Safety and health of the school stakeholders must be given attention to reduce and prevent new education clusters.”