Ops to clean up Covid-19 hotspots


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 02 Apr 2020

Doing a thorough job: Fire and Rescue Department personnel carrying out a decontamination exercise at the premises of a mosque in Kuching.

JOHOR BARU: Mass sanitisation work will be done at 191 locations or Covid-19 hotspots nationwide, said Fire and Rescue Department director- general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid.

All these hotspots are located within 29 zones nationwide with the bulk of it being in the Klang Valley, southern states and Sabah and Sarawak, he added.

The Health Ministry provided the locations for the sanitisation and decontamination operations, which they expect to be completed by April 14, Mohammad Hamdan told The Star.

Asked about the zones, Mohammad Hamdan explained that for example in the Hulu Langat zone, there were four locations or hotspots that needed to be cleaned up.

He said the situation was fluid as the number of locations or zones could increase, or the department might need to clean up an already disinfected area.

He added that presently, the country’s Covid-19 cases were broken up into four categories including Green (no cases), Yellow (one-20 cases), Orange (21-40 cases) and Red (40 cases and above).

“Our operations are centred in areas such as yellow, orange and red, ” he said.

Mohammad Hamdan added that their SOP for public sanitisation was being done based on guidelines from the national taskforce comprising health and chemistry department officials.

He added that some 5,000 firemen were deployed nationwide to carry out this task alongside other agencies and selected private sanitisation companies.

The government tasked the Housing and Local Government Ministry to carry out the mass sanitisation. The Fire and Rescue Department is under this ministry.

The ministry’s Department of Solid Waste Management (JPSPN) through their corporation SW Corp and appointed concessionaires are major participants of this massive sanitisation operations, alongside the Fire and Rescue Department, local authorities, Health Department, Chemistry Department, the police and Rela.

“Most of the hotspots are in the Klang Valley. So far we have sanitised 85 locations, ” he said, adding that the mobilisation of the personnel for Covid-19 did not hamper the department’s other existing operations to fight fire and other rescue operations.

Mohammad Hamdan added that their operations involved using motorised vehicles, manual spraying of chemicals and using the department’s hazardous materials unit (Hazmat) to sanitise an area identified as the epicentre.

“Some people think we are just spraying the roads with disinfectants. They do not realise that we only do this in busy areas with many people as sometimes their droplets from a sneeze or cough can get attached to someone’s shoes and it can be spread that way.

“We also spray the electrical lamp posts and bus stops and other public places, ” he said, adding that they were using sodium hypochlorite disinfectant.

He added that his personnel were also using its Hazmat team to carry out disinfection operations of people returning from overseas as well as aircraft or cargo; and to assist in the burial of Covid-19 victims.

Mohammad Hamdan said so far during this operation, some 139 firemen were placed under person under investigation with three positive for Covid-19.

“I have told my men to take all the precautions and follow all the SOPs when doing their operations, ” he said, urging the public to also cooperate and not gather around when public sanitisation operations are being carried out.

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