Two tertiary institutions, one faculty of a third, two secondary schools, seven industrial training institutes and a National Service Training Centre throughout the country were closed Wednesday and yesterday due to the detection of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) there.

The affected institutions, which will remain closed for one week, were the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjung Malim, Perak, the Engineering Faculty of the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Nibong Tebal, Penang and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jit San (A) in Bukit Mertajam, Penang which were all ordered closed for a week beginning today

In Kuantan, Pahang, the Kolej Yayasan Profesional Mara was also closed for a week beginning yesterday.

In PERAK, the 14,000 students of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjung Malim were ordered to return home after 435 students were reported to be suffering from ILI.

The Health Ministry ordered the campus closed for a week beginning today until Aug 3. Only about 4,000 students of the university were staying in the hostels while the rest were staying outside the campus.

A spokesman from the Operations Room of the Perak Health Department said the department was awaiting the full report from the District Health Office to determine the number of students affected and whether there was any increase in the number of cases.

“Currently, we are still investigating the blood samples taken from the affected students to determine whether they were positive of influenza A (H1N1),” he told Bernama when contacted Wednesday.

The Chairman of the Perak State Health Committee, Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said all students infected with ILI previously had been quarantined in one block before the order for the closure of the campus was issued.

Last week, all students of the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Seri Iskandar, Perak had been ordered to return home for one week after 10 blood samples taken from students infected with ILI were confirmed positive of the H1N1.

In PENANG, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jit Sin (A) in Bukit Mertajam and the Engineering Faculty of the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Nibong Tebal were closed for one week beginning today after a number of their students were infected with ILI.

The Chairman of the Penang State Committee on Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment, Phee Boon Pooh, said the order for the immediate closure was issued to prevent the spread of the ILI virus to other students.

“Immediate steps were taken after a number of students of the school and the USM (Engineering Faculty) were found to be infected with the ILI because the health Ministry does not want the disease to spread to other students,” he said at a press conference, here today.

He said members of the public should not worry about the outbreak of the H1N1 because all preventive measures and Standard Operating Procedures had been taken.

“Although more schools and educational institutions in Penang were closed due to the illness, the situation is under control because the Health Department had taken various steps immediately,” he said.

Phee advised those infected to be disciplined and to abide by the quarantine order issued by the Health Department.

Meanwhile, the USM Deputy Registrar, Mohamad Abdullah said in a media statement here that the USM had to close its Engineering Faculty in Nibong Tebal after 20 of its students were found to be infected with the ILI.

He said the academic activities and lectures were being postponed and would be rescheduled later.

“Other activities will proceed as usual,” he said.

The Chairman of the Vice-Chancellors/Rectors of Public Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTA) Committee, Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak advised parents whose children were having health problems, especially pertaining to the influenza A (H1N1) virus at the campuses, to pick up their children themselves.

This was because allowing their children to use public transport would expose them to others and increase the spread and risks of infection, he said.

“The IPTA Vice-Chancellors and Rectors Committee which met at the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan this morning advised parents whose children are having health problems, especially relating to the H1N1 virus, to pick up their children themselves.

“Meanwhile for those studying in Sabah and Sarawak, they will be assisted by their respective IPTA,” he said in a statement, here today.

Dzulkifli, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), said those who had to stay in the campus would be assisted by the university concerned.

“All universities, with the cooperation of the relevant agencies, especially the Ministry of Health Malaysia will take necessary steps to tackle the problem,” he said.

Dzulkifli said students should cooperate by going for medical examination at the university’s clinic or the nearest health centre if they had symptoms of prolonged high fever.

“Parents and students are advised to contact the university if necessary and not to listen to rumour,” he said.

In KUANTAN, the Kolej Profesional Mara (KPM) Pahang was also closed for one week yesterday after four of its students were confirmed positive of influenza A (H1N1).

KPM Deputy Director for Student Affairs, Naimah Abdul Muttalib said the college management had ordered all its 1,043 students to return home.

“Ninety-one students were quarantined beginning Friday on the instruction of the Health Department after complaining of fever and feeling unwell.

“After a check up, 10 students were suspected to be infected with H1N1 but only four were confirmed positive of the H1N1 yesterday,” she told reporters here, today.

“All the students were ordered not to take the public transport when returning home and that their parents should come to pick them up,” she said.

Meanwhile in JOHOR BAHARU, the Chairman of the Johor State Committee on Women and Family Development, Social Welfare and Health, Dr Robia Kosai said six Industrial Training Institutes (ILP) and a National Service Training Centre (PLKN) in the state were closed for a week beginning yesterday to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus.

She said the institutions that were closed until Aug 4 were the ILP Ledang, ILP Mersing, ILP Pasir Gudang, Kolej Radiografi Johor Baharu, Institut Kemahiran Mara (IKM) Larkin, Politeknik Johor Baharu and the PLKN Sekakap, Mersing.

Meanwhile in KUCHING, the Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) Kota Samarahan near here and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bako, Kuching were ordered closed for a week today after some students there were suspected of being infected with influenza A (H1N1).

A statement from the State Operations Room at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Petra Jaya here said Sarawak currently reported six positive cases still warded, including four in Kuching and another two in Miri.

“For the past 24 hours, Sarawak recorded another two positive cases for Influenza A, with both confirmed cases from Kuching, bringing the total to 102 cases so far” it said.

The total positive cases included 77 local transmission from Kuching (27), Limbang (26), Miri (17) and Samarahan (seven) while the 25 imported cases were from Kuching (12), Miri (seven), Samarahan and Bintulu (two each) and Sibu and Limbang (one each).

Yesterday Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Chung Hua Miri became the first school in the division to be ordered closed for one week after a male student was admitted to the Miri hospital due to flu-like symptoms.

— BERNAMA