KUALA LUMPUR: As Malaysia recorded an upsurge in new Covid-19 cases lately, at 3,027 yeaterday, the government has been urged to quickly implement comprehensive measures in red zones to reduce the spread of the virus and protect those who are exposed to high-risk transmission.
Social and Economic Research Initiative (Seri) chief executive officer Dr Helmy Haja Mydin, in a statement today, said the measures include delaying any general election until the pandemic is under control, shutting down travel that allows people to travel out of red zones, banning non-essential events and public gatherings, and limiting religious events and festivals.
“The government must shut down travel that allows people to travel out of red zones. Non-essential events and public gatherings should be banned, including those of a political nature. Delay any general election until the pandemic is under control, as the priority is to flatten the curve and reduce transmission, even as we await the arrival of vaccines.
“Religious events and festivals must be limited. These include mass gatherings at places of worship (like Friday prayers and Sunday mass) and placing limitations to travel during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be enforced across the board. No individual should be exempted from adhering to the SOPs set by the Health Ministry (MoH),” he said.
Seri also advised proactive case identification in areas of high risk including factories, construction sites, flood relief centres and prisons, as well as keeping schools open as long as possible to reduce the ongoing impact of the pandemic on a whole generation.
“Although SOPs will be in place, there will undoubtedly be positive cases amongst staff and/or students, hence, these need to be identified early and addressed in a swift but localised manner,” Dr Helmy said.
The respiratory physician also suggested that an amnesty must be declared to enable potentially affected illegal foreign workers to step forward.
“The daily 4-digit infection cases call for fresh solutions to be implemented by the MoH to break the chain of infections. Non-compliance to public health intervention systems will undeniably result in negative economic and societal impact.
“We are urging for not only quick but also selective or targeted intervention to mitigate the spread of the pandemic,” said the CEO of the non-partisan think-tank, adding that all these measures were necessary to alleviate the strain on the healthcare system due to the surge in cases.
The 3,027 cases yesterday brought total Covid-19 cases in Malaysia to 128, 465 while the death toll stood at 521. – Bernama