Supermarket takes daily precautions to keep HFMD at bay

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 25 Jul 2018

Keeping it clean: A worker disinfecting the escalator bars at the Sunshine Square supermarket in Bayan Baru.

GEORGE TOWN: The Sunshine Square supermarket in Bayan Baru is disinfecting its trolleys with two different concoctions to keep the spread of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in check.

Besides using diluted bleach to sanitise the 300 trolleys as advised by the state Health Department, the supermarket is also cleaning them for a second time with a multi-purpose cleaner.

“Ever since we found out that HFMD has been spread through the handlebars of trolleys, we have been cleaning the trolleys daily instead of weekly.

“Although the state Health Dep­artment said it was just the handlebars and child seats, we feel that the whole trolley should be disinfected.

“We have also been cleaning the escalator bars and lift buttons daily,” said Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd senior manager Wong Sai Keong when met at the supermarket in Bayan Baru yesterday.

Last week, the state Health Dep­artment had directed shopping malls here to sanitise their trolleys, child rides and public benches after the HFMD virus was found on the handlebars of the trolleys and on child ride equipment.

HFMD spreads through contact with nasal discharge, saliva and faeces, as well as fluids from the blisters of an infected person.

A person infected with HFMD is most contagious during the duration of the illness, with no known treatment available besides relief of symptoms such as fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, rashes and lethargy.

Wong said the trolleys were either sanitised at night or in the morning before the supermarket opened for the day.

“Although it takes time to clean all the trolleys once a day, we are more than happy to do it because it makes the shoppers feel safe when they bring their children here,” he said.

“Our supermarket is contained to the ground floor and basement, as trolleys are only allowed on those two floors.

“We hope to place hand sanitisers at designated areas in both our departmental store and supermarket by this week for shoppers to use.

“We have also stocked up on hand sanitisers for sale just in case the demand increases,” he added.

Meanwhile, there was an increase in HFMD cases, with 67 new cases recorded on Monday compared to 51 cases last Friday.

State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said this increased the cumulative number of cases to 2,408 from January to July 23 this year, compared with 1,099 cases over the same period last year.

He said 23 premises remained closed, including four schools – SJKC Moh Ghee Pusat, SJKC Beng Teik, SJKC Kwang Hwa and SK Juara.

“As of Tuesday, 13 victims are still undergoing treatment in hospitals,” he said after a durian eating session with reporters yesterday.

On the HFMD virus being found on trolley handlebars, Dr Afif said it could also be spread at children’s playgrounds.

“I urge all premises owners to keep the place clean to prevent such an outbreak from occurring again.

“Parents should also not bring their children to public places if they are diagnosed with HFMD,” he added.

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