Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun suggested that all hospitals in Sabah set up express counters for suspected Influenza A (H1N1) patients.
He said having such facility at hospitals would encourage the public to come for treatment. "So, let's have an express counter for (those with) suspected H1N1," he said.
He said those who went to hospitals for H1N1 screening often had to wait five to six hours before they were attended to.
On his earlier proposal that the Education Department consider closing all schools in the State for a few days, he said many misunderstood the proposal.
He said normally the incubation period of the virus would be several days, hence his proposal to isolate the students by having a short holiday. After which, he said, parents would be able to detect if their children are not healthy.
On claims that the spread of the virus can be controlled from spreading to other schools, he said it is difficult because school buses ferry children not from one particular school only.
"They are all mixed up in the same school bus (when going to and from school," he said.
Nevertheless, he said while his proposal may not be popular as teachers have curriculum or syllabuses to complete, in the worst case, perhaps they should consider the option.
"We are facing a serious problem in H1N1Éit is not a laughing matter."
Meanwhile, a screening counter for the A (H1N1) virus has been set up for the public at the Luyang Clinic, here.
All visitors or patients would need to line up at the counter stationed at the main entrance, where nurses will carry out the appropriate preliminary tests, a group from the SM La Salle Parents Teachers Association (PTA) learned, Thursday.
If someone were found to be a suspected H1N1 case, the person would be directed and accompanied by a health staff to a camp outside the clinic, designated for cases of the flu virus, for further tests.
Those confirmed with H1N1 would either be sent to the Likas Hospital or the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.
Led by the school's PTA Chairman, Asandul Mozihim, the group visited the clinic to learn about the H1N1 screening procedure at the medical facility, with the screening process involving students among its concerns.
The group also included Deputy SM La Salle PTA Chairperson, Datin Nelly Munang and committee member, Bridget Wong.
Munang suggested that a sign indicating that the counter, which was the only one meant for H1N1 screening, be put up clearly for people to see to avoid any confusion.
"For instance, if there were 40 or 80 people lining up at the counter, those behind will not see the signage, which is put up in front of the counter.
"This will also prevent people from wandering around to look for another counter, which is in fact not there," she said.
Asandul also suggested that the H1N1 screening procedures in every medical facility be made public to minimise confusion and miscommunication between the public and health authorities.
Asandul said SM La Salle has meted out several measures to reduce the risks of H1N1 spreading in the school, where two students tested positive recently.
Among others, the school has discouraged students from the senior block to visit the junior block and vice versa, while the PTA has also provided surgical masks for students.
"We have also distributed circulars to parents about the prevention of H1N1 and also an effort to disinfect the school by carrying out clean-up activities.
"And the students have been advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible instead of coming to school when they develop fever, coughs or any H1N1 symptoms," he said.