‘Vigilance key to curbing Covid-19’


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020

PETALING JAYA: The country is doing well in managing the spread of Covid-19 although the virus appears to be spreading in the community over the past week, according to health experts.

“Enforcing quarantine on those who enter Malaysia from other countries is the right move.

“There should also be more stringent measures to stop immigrants without permits, ” said Universiti Malaya Department of Social and Preventive Medicine Faculty of Medicine Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming.

She also added that currently most of the cases in the country were imported and had spread to the community.

Despite this, Dr Moy said the country had been doing very well in fighting Covid-19 with the controlled number of cases, adding that the country’s healthcare system was coping well too.

She pointed out the public was getting used to the new normal while the commercial sector too had been doing their part in practising the standard operating procedure (SOP).

Dr Moy noted that it was unnecessary to implement a nationwide MCO, adding that a MCO within a specific location with an influx of cases would be sufficient.

The country recorded an increase of Covid-19 cases ranging from 45 cases to a high of 182 cases since Sept 7 with new outbreaks coming from Sabah and Kedah.

The outbreak in Sabah originated from the Lahad Datu police headquarters’ lock-up which then spread to the Tawau prison while in Kedah the outbreaks came from, among others, healthcare workers.

Universiti Sains Malaysia medical epidemiologist and biostatistician Assoc Prof Dr Kamarul Imran Musa said the recent outbreak strongly indicated that the spread of Covid-19 was being generated in the community.

As such, Dr Kamarul said the surveillance of Covid-19 must be continued rigorously, or be enhanced, especially for dense areas such as the Klang Valley.

He said the government, especially the Health Ministry, was facing a real challenge in slowing down or stopping the spread of Covid-19 altogether due to several factors, such as the high percentage of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic Covid-19 cases, the mode of spread through droplets and the size of the country.

“With increased and more effective surveillance, the government will be able to identify new clusters or new infections faster and act sooner.

“Similarly, if the population is more aware and more vigilant of the risk of Covid-19 and take extra precaution to protect themselves and others from themselves as well, the risk will be reduced, ” he said. Dr Kamarul added that the model of intervention that was taking place at a few districts in Kedah – the enhanced MCO – was the most possible model that the government would use to halt the community spread of Covid-19.

“This targeted enhanced MCO will identify the point of the new cluster, set the perimeter and restrict all movement within the perimeter, ” he said.

Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar also did not believe that there would be an MCO for the entire nation, adding that it would only be restricted to Kedah and Sabah since there had been an outbreak.

Dr Zainal said the government could consider other measures such as a travel advisory to these two states or quarantine those coming from hotspot areas.

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