Kota Kinabalu: School authorities and parents have been urged to inculcate hygiene awareness among pupils and students as one step to address the spread of the Influenza A (H1N1).
Making the call, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said lack of such awareness could be among reasons why the flu virus was spreading fast among schoolchildren.
He said schoolchildren must be taught hygiene practices such as washing hands frequently and donning face mask.
As of Aug 10, there were 435 H1N1 cases reported in the State, of which 70 per cent of those infected comprised students.
In addition, a total of 62 secondary schools and 43 primary schools were affected but 36 were closed temporarily for one week thus far.
To date only four schools remained closed, including SMK Batu Sapi in Sandakan, SMK Melati, Tawau, SMK Timbua in Ranau and SMK Pamol, Beluran. The rest have reopened.
Musa, in this respect, urged the Director of the State Education Department, Datuk Normah Gagoh, to immediately shut down schools that have students infected with the Influenza A (H1N1).
"This is to stop the flu virus from spreading on a wider scale," he said, adding that the Government was serious about the matter," he said.
The State Health Department, he said, has been asked to monitor the virus spread.
He also said the State Cabinet Committee on the H1N1, headed by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, has been asked to monitor the situation and to be in constant touch with the Health Department.
The print media and electronic media via radio and television, Musa said, would be advertising about the H1N1 so as to provide information to the public.
He said this is important as one form of mitigating factor to contain the spread of the flu virus pandemic.
"This requires the cooperation from everyone and not just the Health Department's responsibility alone so that we can reduce or stop the virus from spreading," he said.