Covid-19: Transport, health services, community empowerment crucial during CMCO, says Health DG

PUTRAJAYA: Attention must be given to transportation, health services and community empowerment to control the spread of Covid-19 when the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) begins on Monday, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pix).

He said these aspects were stressed upon at the meeting between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the team of medical experts from China.

Touching on the health aspect, he said the operating hours of government hospitals might be extended to include weekends to ease patient congestion in waiting rooms and ensure the practice of social distancing.

“The (service) period will also be extended until 10pm, so we’re practising distancing through appointments,” he said at the daily press conference on Covid-19 here today.

He said that among other steps which could be taken were to carry out door-to-door health services as well as directing patients who arrive early for their hospital appointments to either wait in their cars or open areas to ease congestion at waiting areas.

From the transportation aspect, Noor Hisham said the MOH would issue a standard operation procedure (SOP) to the transport sector and that the public should practise social distancing, wear face masks as well as carry out sanitation operations more often.

Commenting on community empowerment, he said everyone should jointly adopt the practice of social responsibility and the new normal to ensure that new positive cases would not escalate.

“The safest place now is at home, so we advise all Malaysians that if there is no need to go out, then stay at home,” he said and reminded the public to be prepared to face a longer fight against the virus as no vaccine had been found yet.

Touching on the topic of the ‘coronavac’ vaccine for Covid-19, he said discussions had been held with China, which had agreed to make Malaysia its research venue for the third phase of its study.

“Their research is at phase two now, but they (China) will complete phase two of their study probably by November and December and, once completed, they will start on phase three to see the vaccine’s effectiveness on humans,” he explained when asked about the latest development regarding the vaccine being produced by China.

Meanwhile, he said MOH had traced another new Covid-19 cluster involving six tahfiz students in Lanchang, Pahang and would look into implementing Enforced Movement Control Order (EMCO) at the affected madrasah.

“We have screened 50% of the students and staff at the tahfiz and found 4.7% of them to be positive. Those who were close contacts with the six positive cases will also be quarantined,” he said.

He also reminded those planning on going out for recreational activities in public parks, when they are opened on Monday, to comply with the SOP drawn up by the MOH, especially on social distancing.

“Parks are huge, so we can keep our distance, but if you go out in groups (and without) distancing, then we can take action under Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988),” he said.

In another development, he said the MOH had received the 50,000 rapid test kits from South Korea, with Sabah and Sarawak getting 10,000 each while the remaining 30,000 were distributed for use at the border in Johor and at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2. — Bernama