Covid-19: Dr Adham recalls nerve-wracking moments on implementing lockdown at PICK sharing session

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 03 Nov 2021

PUTRAJAYA: One of the most nerve-wracking moments for Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (pic) in handling the Covid-19 pandemic was having to sign Act 342 in order to implement the nationwide lockdown last year.

Then serving as Health Minister, he said the government had decided to place the country under lockdown to control infection.

“I was anxious when I had to sign the order as it was the first time such a move had to be done.

“By doing (signing) so, everyone in this country, including ministers will have to remain housebound,” he said.

Dr Adham, who has since moved on to lead the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry shared his experience in dealing with the pandemic at the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) strategic sharing session on Wednesday (Nov 3).

He said the government had made full use of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act to deal with the pandemic.

Five additional sections and five amendments were made to the Act to allow stricter measures be taken and to deal with violators, including higher penalties, he added.

Dr Adham said together with now Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, efforts were made to secure vaccine procurements for the country.

“We were told by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) that in search of vaccines, the criteria to look for is its safety, efficacy and quality.

“With this information at hand, Khairy had used science diplomacy to secure vaccines for Malaysia,” he said.

The minister pointed out that in the 269 days that the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force has been in operation, more than 50 million doses of vaccines have been administered.

The highest number of doses administered within 24 hours was on July 24, with 579,774 doses administered that day.

To date, about 75% of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Dr Adham said the PICK programme - the largest programme undertaken by the government in the history of Malaysia - is successful thanks to dedication of the frontliners.

“Thanks to their relentless efforts, this small country of ours is at par or fared even better than developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Japan,” he said.

On CITF which had ceased operation on Nov 1, Dr Adham said he witnessed first-hand the dedication poured by those who worked on the task force over the past nine months.

“Like every love story, this too has an ending. I am truly touched by the hard work and determination shown by those in CITF.

“I will forever remember our struggles in making the vaccination programme a success,” he said.

The PICK is now fully implemented by the Health Ministry.

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