Basic SOPs remain vital


PETALING JAYA: As the Health Ministry deliberates on simplifying the Covid-19 standard operating procedures, health experts say the most crucial ones are still wearing of face masks, physical distancing and good personal hygiene.Universiti Malaya Department of Social and Preventive Medicine Faculty of Medicine’s Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming said the present SOPs are much more standardised than before.

“It is just the implementation and enforcement that need to be improved,” she added.

Dr Moy said that among the top 10 SOPs are wearing of face masks in public places and at work, maintaining physical distancing and washing hands often.

Other recommendations include avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated places, indoor dining only for those fully vaccinated and a 100% vaccination rate for all staff, students, undergraduates and postgraduates in schools and academic institutions.

“Workers in all economic sectors should be 80% to 100% vaccinated for full capacity of staff working on site, while those in enclosed environments should get tested regularly.

“All worksites and indoor facilities such as cinemas, gyms, eateries, shops and malls should have their ventilation systems checked often.

“There should be a limit on the number of people at large social gatherings (weddings, funerals, parties and festivals) and enforcement of a vaccine licence or negative test results two days before,” Dr Moy said.Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said the SOPs should include access for those who are fully vaccinated and the mandatory use of face masks, physical distancing and good ventilation.He said crowded areas should be avoided, while those who are feeling unwell should stay at home.

On Sept 4, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry was looking to simplify the SOPs at different levels of the pandemic.Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said there were too many SOPs in the past, causing much confusion.

“As we enter the endemic phase, we need clearer SOPs that are easy and practical to follow,” he said.

Now that 80% of adults had been fully vaccinated, Dr Raj said it would be easy to come up with standardised SOPs across the board.

“Restrictions are safe to be lifted now. The SOP we cannot compromise on is wearing of face masks. This must be continued along with basic cleanliness, sanitisation and good indoor ventilation during functions and meetings,” he said.

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