THE current Covid-19 outbreak requires vigilance from all parties, especially the need to prioritise cleanliness.
The World Health Organisation said the most effective protective measure against the virus is to wash one’s hands with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
This should be done as frequently as possible, especially after hands come into contact with outdoor surfaces, like hand railings or lift buttons for example.
This begs the question of whether places frequently visited by the public like shopping centres and train stations are providing adequate quantities of soap and paper towels and replenishing the supply regularly to meet increased demand.
State health, welfare, women empowerment and family committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said shopping centres, public transportation hubs and public toilets need to maintain their cleanliness to prevent the virus from spreading.
She said it was more important than ever for owners and operators of such facilities to keep their premises clean and sanitised.
“I hope that all business owners and public transport operators keep their premises clean and take the necessary measures like providing hand-washing facilities, ” she said.
Siti Mariah commended business owners who had taken steps to keep their premises clean in keeping the coronavirus at bay.
A visit to the Selangor Health Department website showed infographics on Covid-19 as well as preventive measures and guidelines on what to do if one develops symptoms resembling that of the flu.
The health department also reminded taxi and e-haling drivers to ensure that their vehicles were always sanitised and clean, wash their hands regularly and wear masks.
Drivers were advised to encourage passengers to put on masks, especially those who were coughing or sneezing.
Besides that, drivers were also encouraged to prepare tissues, hand sanitisers and covered mini dustbins in their cars.
They were also advised to clean their vehicles after dropping off passengers who were coughing and sneezing.
Other local councils in the state have taken pro-active measures by providing hand sanitisers and soap dispensers at toilets in their premises.
“At Klang Municipal Council (MPK), our health department has equpped staff, especially front liners dealing with the public, with masks and hand sanitisers, ” said MPK Corporate Communications director Norfiza Mahfiz.
“We are fortunate that companies like GM Klang and 99 Speedmart have given MPK boxes of face masks.”
Apart from that, all premises under MPK including public toilets were equipped with hand soap and cleaned regularly.
Hand sanitisers are also available at Shah Alam City Council’s (MBSA) offices in Sungai Buloh, Setia Alam and Kota Kemuning.
“This is one of the ways we can encourage the public and our staff to sanitise their hands to prevent being infected.
“We will also be increasing efforts to clean our premises and will focus on door knobs, counter tops and other surfaces which are often touched by people, ” said MBSA Corporate Communications head Shahrin Ahmad.
Similarly, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has also provided hand sanitisers at all its offices.
“We encourage visitors to wash their hands and sanitise them often.
“Visitors who are sick are advised to wear masks, ” said MBPJ Corporate Communications assistant director Ahmad Iskandar Mohamed Mukthar.
He added that face masks were also being distributed at food stalls while public toilets were equipped with hand soap.
The Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, in a statement, said its members had taken measures to ensure hygiene and cleanliness for shoppers, staff and shop operators.
Among them are providing hand sanitisers at all entrances, lift lobbies, toilets, concierge stations and other central locations.
There are also thermal scanners in place for body temperature screening for the mall’s management, operations staff and business outlets.
“Malls are also carrying out more frequent sanitisation and cleaning of public utilities and other touch point areas like escalator handrails, lifts, balcony railings, balustrades, sitting areas and everything else that people come in contact with.
“Visitors who are unwell are advised to report to the relevant authorities and observe self-quarantine, ” the assocation advised in its statement.
StarMetro also called up a few universities and hospitals in Klang Valley to identify the initiatives taken to combat Covid-19.
This is especially important as many foreign students, including Chinese nationals, are returning to Malaysia.
Two universities in Subang Jaya have provided hand sanitisers around the campuses, increased cleaning of facilities and have been sending out regular health tips through email.
There have also been proposals by students for universities to look into doing thermal scans at entrances and to quarantine those showing symptoms of the flu.
Hospitals have prepared hand sanitisers at various points for patients, visitors and staff.