Popular Tioman resort turns into Covid-19 vaccination centre

Popular Tioman resort turns into Covid-19 vaccination centre

ROMPIN: A popular resort in Tioman Island, Salang Pusaka Resort here has been turned into a COVID-19 vaccination centre (PPV) for over 90 residents of Kampung Salang who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Resort director Abdul Khalid Mohamad said he was approached by officers from the Tioman Development Authority (TDA) about three weeks ago, to seek permission to use the resort he had operated since 1991 as a PPV.

“They said the place is suitable as it is located not far from the jetty and at the centre of the village, besides having a seminar hall and a relatively large compound to accommodate the people.

“Of course I don’t have to think twice to give them the permission. This is good news and furthermore, we have not received any guest since last October,” he said when met at the resort recently.

In addition, Abdul Khalid also allowed government staff managing the PPV to use some of the rooms in the resort to rest or perform prayers, because he wanted them to be comfortable in carrying out their duties.

For him, this was only a small contribution to assist the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, considering that all 180 people in the village are related to him.

Tioman Island vaccine coordinator Dr Ahmad Hafiz Mohamad said a total of 20 health personnel ‘camped’ at the resort for almost six hours from 8.30 am yesterday to administer the Sinovac vaccine to residents in the area.

“We will also visit two houses because the vaccine recipients are unable to go to the PPV due to health problems including one recipient who has been bedridden for the past few years,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opening of the PPV gave relief to housewife Zalina Mohd Abidin, 55, who had to use a wheelchair after both of her legs were amputated up to the knee and thigh level due to diabetes complications in 2018.

Zalina said she was worried if her vaccination appointment through the MySejahtera application was set at the nearest health clinic in Kampung Tekek which requires a 20-minute boat ride, or else, she needs to take a two-hour ferry ride to Rompin.

“If possible, I don’t want to trouble anyone with my condition. When I hear that nurses will come here to administer the vaccine, I immediately asked my husband for confirmation and if it is true, to quickly register our names because I don’t want to miss the opportunity,” she said.

Restaurant operator Arman Ariffin, 49, said the arrival of three boats carrying health workers and the vaccine had cured his longing for the sound of boat engine that has not been heard after tourism activities on the island was impacted by COVID-19.

Arman, who lives on Tioman Island for the past 29 years, hoped the situation would return to normal soon so that Kampung Salang, which is famous for its beautiful beach and scuba diving activity, could open its doors to tourists again.

“Weekends used to be a busy time for us…(the island is) lively with the presence of domestic and foreign tourists. But now, it has been quiet for months and we only rely on our savings and other aid to survive,” he said. – Bernama