THE Malaysian Parliament is a very important institution in this country. The rakyat need to hear the views of all parliamentarians in response to the various ongoing crises in Malaysia.
The Covid-19 disease will be with us for the foreseeable future. Par-liament and parliamentarians need to set a good example in ensuring the continuation of work and business in a safe environment during this pandemic. SOPs should be enforced to ensure the safe continuation of Parliament and its meetings.
Parliament is a workplace like any other, and everyone in it should follow workplace SOPs. Community-linked cases will continue to occur. However, strict infection control and social measures are key to preventing Covid-19 transmission within Parliament.
Preventive infection control measures include appropriate mask use and physical distancing. Social gatherings should not be allowed. As a special precaution, for now, drinks and meals should be consumed individually. Everyone within Parliament’s premises must always follow SOPs to decrease the risk of transmission.
In line with national SOPs, various locations within Parliament should also use MySejahtera QR codes for easier close contact identification. Alternatively, geotagging contact tracing systems may be used to ensure the safety of all parliamentarians. Anonymised location data may be collected for more efficient close contact identification. Smarter automated contact tracing systems should help reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission within Parliament.
There are many examples we can follow to ensure that Parlia-ment stays open even with the high number of Covid-19 cases in the community. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, hospitals have never closed their doors as they follow strict SOPs. SOP adherence is vital for effective prevention and control of Covid-19 in hospitals.
Many essential workplaces continue to function despite the raging pandemic. Parliament is an essential workplace and should, and can, continue to function as long as there is strict adherence to workplace SOPs.
PROF DR SANJAY RAMPAL & PROF DR VICTOR HOE
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya
Note: Dr Sanjay is professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Dr Hoe is professor of Occupational and Public Health in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine