TCM practitioners glad to be allowed to resume work


Loo speaking to a patient on the phone at his clinic in George Town, Penang. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

ALLOWING traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners in green zones to resume operation during the movement control order (MCO) can help people with minor health problems, says a Chinese physician.

Loo Sio Teik, 47, who is a traditional Chinese orthopaedist, said due to the MCO, he only provided phone consultations to his patients.

“As most of my patients are regulars, they can tell me the symptoms when they fall ill and I will prescribe and prepare their medicine accordingly.

“I will put the medicine outside my shop and my patients will pay me online after collecting them, ” he said when met at his clinic in George Town, Penang.

Loo added that he had tried multiple times to send in his application on the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s (Miti) website for permission to operate during the MCO period but had failed.

“I have tried to apply many times and the system was down. So, my application could not go through.

“We did not open for consultation in the first three weeks after the MCO was announced, ” he said.

Loo also said he would only consult one patient at a time if he was allowed to operate during the MCO, adding that it would be on an appointment basis.

“I will also sanitise the clinic bed after attending to each patient to make sure that it is clean and safe for other patients.

“If the patient is experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms such as cough and fever, I will not see them as it is not my expertise, ” he said, adding that he specialised in sports injuries and orthopaedic.

Penang Motorcycle Association vice-president May Law said they were encouraging motor repair shops to stay closed.

“It is high risk for them as there can be high liability if anything happens during this MCO time.

“They will have to bear all the costs if anything were to go wrong.

“We do not want this for them. We are encouraging them to keep their shops closed, ” she said.

Law said their national association had discouraged those under the association to open during the MCO period.

“We have more than 300 motor repair shops under our association in Penang.

“There are some small-scale motor repair shops who are not under our association here which probably will open, ” she said.

On April 10, the government announced that it would allow an additional list of businesses to operate during the MCO.

The list included traditional and complementary medicine, hardware and electrical shops, optometry, manned laundrettes and hair salons (restricted to haircuts).

It was later announced that the plan was to only allow barbers and hair salons located in green zones to operate.

However, on April 13, the government rescinded its decision to allow hair and beauty salons as well as optometry shops to operate during the MCO.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made the decision following advice from health experts and authorities as well as views from non-governmental organisations and the public.

The government had recently announced that the MCO would be extended to April 28.

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