KOTA KINABALU, Sept 13 — The prime minister has agreed to expedite the setting up of the Tawau Field Hospital to assist Sabah’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic on its east coast, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
Hajiji said the approval came following a request from the state during an online National Disaster Management Committee meeting chaired by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“There is an urgent need for a field hospital in Tawau since upgrading work for the Tawau District Hospital is only 60 per cent completed,” he said, adding that the Armed Forces had set up a field hospital last year but it has since closed.
Sabah faced a looming crisis due to its lack of medical facilities when its Covid-19 cases exceeded 3,000 cases at its peak last month.
The situation has since been brought under control, following a drop in cases, along with those in need of ICU care.
The state is now grappling with the challenge of vaccinating its population, including a vast undocumented migrant population.
Meanwhile, Hajiji told the meeting that 302 temporary evacuation centres have been identified in Sabah and 14 agencies involving 6,800 personnel have been activated in anticipation of the coming monsoon season.
In this respect, he said Sabah has activated its Disaster Management Committee following several natural disasters that wreaked havoc on both infrastructure and property in several districts, such as Beaufort and Penampang, as well as other areas throughout Sabah.
“It is estimated that RM147 million is needed to repair the damage,” he said, adding that the state government hoped assistance would be forthcoming from the federal government.
State Secretary Datuk Seri Panglima Sr Safar Untong and key State Disaster Management Committee members were also present.