Haze: 2,649 schools to remain closed, asthma and conjunctivitis on the rise

20 Sep 2019 / 07:56 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 2,649 schools in Selangor, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Sarawak will remain closed today, affecting 1,715,274 students, while asthma and conjunctivitis cases are on the rise, due to the haze.

According to health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, observations at 31 sentinel clinics found an increase in asthma cases by 15.8%, from 1,187 to 1,375 cases during the Sept 8 to 14 period.

Conjunctivitis cases rose by 24.9% (from 253 to 317 cases) while upper respiratory tract infections decreased by 17.3% (from 7,551 to 6,245 cases) during the same period.

Meanwhile, the Human Resources Ministry called on employers to execute flexible work policies which would allow employees to work from home, in view of the continuing haze, adding that the matter had been raised at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, with the understanding that employers were primarily responsible for the health and safety of employees at the workplace.

According to Air Pollutant Index (API) readings available on the Department of Environment’s (DOE) website at 9pm tonight, air quality in Mukah, Sarawak improved, by dropping from the ‘very unhealthy’ category (202) at 6pm to the ‘unhealthy’ category (187), while air quality remained ‘very unhealthy’ in Samarahan, Sri Aman, Sarikei, Sibu and Kuching.

The API comprises the following categories: good (0-50), moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-300) and hazardous (301 onwards). - Bernama

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