Verify before forwarding info to others, say authorities

Residents became wary upon seeing Health Ministry staff in PPE suits conducting contact tracing in Jalan Imbi area in Kuala Lumpur.

LAST week, a frantic resident called StarMetro requesting to verify news that her neighbourhood in Jalan Imbi and its surrounding areas of Jalan Khoo Teik Ee, Jalan Horley, Jalan Barat and Jalan Melati would be placed under lockdown.

Her concern was based on the assumption that the majority of residents of the 16 blocks of walk-up flats comprised Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar nationals working in the construction sector and businesses nearby.

It was also due to the presence of dozens of Health Ministry officers dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) suits there.

Soon photos and videos began to circulate on social media.

“I need to know if there is going to be a lockdown as I have to prepare with necessities and food,’’ said resident Jane Rai, who is a tour guide.

“We don’t want to be caught off-guard and it’s only proper for the authorities to tell us beforehand,” she added.

Similarly, photos and videos of Health Ministry staff in full protective gear circulating online created great worry among residents in Brickfields. Those images turned out to be from an incident in Kuala Langat.

The viral video had shown health workers in PPE carrying a body out of a supermarket.

Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Zairulnizam Mohd Zainuddin@Helmi in a statement advised residents not to worry and urged the public not to spread fake news.

Brickfields Rukun Tetangga chairman SKK Naidu said when he saw the posting on social media he knew it was fake news.

“It can be frustrating that even people who have lived in Brickfields for many years would still post such things when it is quite clear the area is not in Brickfields.

“Common sense goes out the window,’’ he said.

“Usually before an area is placed under enhanced movement control order (MCO), the army would cordon it off with barbed wires.

“I hope the police can establish a website for the public to be informed of areas in the city under enhanced MCO. It will definitely clear things up and prevent undue worry,’’ Naidu added.

Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya Health Department director Dr Param Jeeth Singh said the presence of health officers in PPE suits in the city would be a common sight for the next few months and people should not panic as it was only officers carrying out contact tracing to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“Contact tracing is part and parcel of the process to warn contacts of exposure in order to stop the chain of transmission.

“The public must cooperate with health officers as they are there to help patients identify people they were in contact with and if they are tested positive, they will be taken to hospital, while those not infected must quarantine themselves,’’ he said.

Dr Param advised all to observe social distancing and wear face masks.

On May 26, it was reported that new Covid-19 cases exceeded 100 for the first time since May 3, with a majority of them involving migrants without valid documents.

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