KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) described the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in the east coast of Sabah as unfortunate as it has immediately stalled the tourism activities.

Its chairman, Datuk Winston Liaw said the tourism activities were slowly picking up to 20-30 per cent in the east coast in July and August after the tourism industry carried out holidays promotion packages.

“We have embarked on the weekends getaway promotions which saw very good response as all the resorts and hotels has enjoyed occupancies,” said Liaw in referring the Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) imposed in Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kunak and Semporna starting from September 29 to October 12.

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, he disclosed: “The industry received a lot of cancellations and recorded no new bookings coming in for future dates, the government did the right thing to lock down the east coast badly affected areas.

“Tourism industry can only start to recover again when the country COVID-19 report is back to single digit, even after it sustain the single digit, tourists will wait and see for another one month, ensure they are safe to travel then they will start to make bookings.”

At the moment, he said the government should look closely at the situations in the west coast, maybe we should go back to Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in certain areas to ensure COVID-19 will not spread to other less cases areas.

As the spreading rapidly, we urge the government to act immediately without further delay to ensure the safety of the Sabah citizens, he said.

Today, 12 active cases were reported in Kota Kinabalu which prompted Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin mulling a lockdown for the state capital as the cases are rising.-HS

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