Groups warm up to dropping temp check

A security personnel seen removing the temperature reader as temperatures screening in no longer mandatory in the latest SOP updates. - YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Temperature scans are ineffective because they can never really detect if anyone had Covid-19, say business groups as they laud the government’s proposal to do away with this standard operating procedure (SOP).

“Initially, we thought that temperature checks were the most important thing, but now as we know it, those who have Covid-19 can be asymptomatic, so they would not register any temperature,” said Malaysia Retailers Association vice-president Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin.

“Even though you may check their temperature, it would not catch the people you are supposed to catch, so this has to go,” he added.

Ameer, who is also Bumiputera Retailers Organisation president, said the United Kingdom has removed similar Covid-19 measures as well. It has also dropped the mandatory Covid-19 passes and face masks for large scale events.

“But I think following them might be too early for us. We do not want to do that. Our method is correct where we slowly amend the SOP so that business can go on as usual,” he said.

On Thursday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said they agreed to remove temperature checks from the Covid-19 SOP and would bring this proposal to the weekly Quartet Ministers meeting and the National Security Council (NSC) for endorsement.

He added that individuals would only need to do MySejahtera check-ins upon entering premises.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan agreed it would be good to do away with temperature checks, while scanning MySejahtera should still be compulsory.

“Temperature screening does not show if a person has Covid-19 at all. Sometimes customers have high temperatures because they have been outside (under the sun), so you need them to cool down for their temperatures to drop.

“The MySejahtera screening is much better as it shows whether a person is vaccinated or not. I think this is so much better than taking their temperatures,” he added.

Malaysian Hairdressing Association president Michael Poh also agreed temperature checks were no longer relevant as many people had already received their vaccination, noting that some Covid-19 carriers were also asymptomatic.

“We must move with the times. We should change our direction and policies, looking at the current situation.

“We now know how to handle the virus and how to protect ourselves, so we must carry on with our lives like normal,” he said.

Poh pointed out that even the UK has begun relaxing its Covid-19 measures.

“We cannot continue being locked up at home. We must know how to live healthily as it is all about having a strong immune system to fight Covid-19,” he said.

Former Selangor police chief Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah, who now operates Tun Security Services, also said he was all for the new ruling by the government.

“Is taking a person’s temperature a material factor related to Covid-19? No, it’s not. So, what’s the point of taking patrons’ temperature?

“A person can be contagious even if their temperature is normal,” he said.

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