PUTRAJAYA: As the monsoon season approaches, Malaysia is preparing for the possibility of flooding amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) has developed new standard operating procedure (SOP) for flood relief work with Covid-19 in mind, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Tasks) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof.
“To comply with the Covid-19 SOP, Nadma has enhanced its procedures in managing flood victims at relief centres.
“Victims and workers will have to undergo body temperature checks. Those who are symptomatic must be isolated and referred to the Health Ministry,” he said.
“All flood evacuation centres will have to be disinfected every now and then.
“Workers at the centres must also control the movement of people so that activities in large groups are disallowed while food will only be provided in packets.
“The public will not be allowed to visit flood relief centres and physical distancing must be followed at all times,” said Mohd Redzuan at a press conference after chairing a Central Disaster Management Committee meeting here.
The minister added that rescuers would also be asked to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the possibility of contracting Covid-19 from flood victims.
“A rescuer will not be able to know the condition of a flood victim during an emergency. We would not know if they are Covid-19 positive or not. So we must ensure the rescuers wear the appropriate PPE.
“There will be specific SOP on this. This is to ensure that our frontliners are always safe during such flood rescue missions,” he said.
Asset-wise, the government was adequately resourced and there was no need to make extra procurement, he said.
“Our assets are adequate. We have 5,422 flood relief centres that can put up 1.5 million victims, so that is more than enough. At worst, we probably may need to put up maybe 500,000 victims,” he said.
He said based on the Meteorological Department’s forecast, the country was likely to be spared from a bad disaster.
“We have our forecasts and predictions based on the experience and expertise available. The meeting’s opinion is that we are not likely to to face a disaster that is hugely worrying,” he said.
Meanwhile on another matter, Mohd Redzuan is hoping passengers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) will remain patient in the midst of overcrowding caused by the Covid-19 screening.
“The screening process cannot be rushed. It is a delicate operation. We need to understand what the Health Ministry staff have to go through.
“For example, you can’t rush the swabbing process,” said Mohd Redzuan.
Reports showed that passengers arriving from Sabah were forced to wait up to six hours to undergo Covid-19 screening at KLIA and KLIA2.
On Sunday, the government ordered passengers arriving from Sabah to be screened for Covid-19 upon arrival, following a rise in positive cases in the state.