PUTRAJAYA: Starting Friday, Malaysians will be able to find out which shopping malls or eateries are potential Covid-19 hotspots under the Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system, says Khairy Jamaluddin.
“At the moment, some of the large hotspots in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are shopping malls, F&B (food and beverage) outlets and bazaars.
“The HIDE system has to date identified 1,660 locations in the country that potentially can become Covid-19 clusters.
“Last week, there were 1,170, ” said the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister.
Khairy, also the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, said when these hotspots are identified, business owners can take pre-emptive measures.
This could include “testing their workers, strengthening the gatekeeping process, tightening crowd control and lowering the number of occupants (at their premises).
“The transparency will also help the people make informed decisions and practise self-control, ” he added.
Khairy said HIDE was developed using data from the Health Ministry’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).
The variables used to determine if a location is a hotspot include the number of Covid-19 cases in the area, exposure time, area size, and also whether it is well ventilated.
He added that the list of hotspots will be published by CPRC, and the method will be announced soon.
Locations identified as Covid-19 clusters by the Health Ministry are not the same as premises flagged by HIDE as hotspots, as the latter are places that potentially turn into a cluster if there is no intervention, said the minister.
“HIDE uses advanced technology to predict where potential clusters are, so that more targeted action can be taken early.
“It is to avoid the emergence of large clusters, especially now that there is an increased number of Covid-19 infections, ” he explained.
Further elaborating on what sort of intervention can be taken, Khairy said owners of office premises could instruct employees to work from home or send their workers for Covid-19 testing.
Eateries could reduce the number of customers allowed into their premises or even fully stop dine-ins, while shopping centres can strengthen the gatekeeping process at entrances and lower the number of occupants, he suggested.
The Health Ministry will also conduct risk analysis to decide if certain premises need to be shut down temporarily.
Individuals who have visited hotspots will be categorised as “casual contacts” on MySejahtera and encouraged to undertake self-health checks.
“If you are flagged as a casual contact, it does not mean you need to test for Covid-19.
“It is only if you are symptomatic, ” Khairy said.