Adhere to SOP while celebrating Raya: Health DG

by BERNAMA  / pic by BERNAMA 

Muslims, who would be celebrating Aidilfitri on May 24, must adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) during the festival including limiting the number of visitors at one time.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the total of 20 people advised by the government before this is limited to family members and relatives, besides considering the size of the house.

“If it is a small apartment, it should not be 20 people at one time, but maybe we can use other approaches such as staggered appointment and we do not encourage gathering activities or visiting.

“Adhere to the Health Ministry (MOH) SOP, practise social distancing and protect senior citizens, for example no hand shakes or kisses, we must practise personal hygiene, washing hands and using sanitizers,” he said during the COVID-19 daily press conference, here today.

He said individuals 60 years old and above made up more than 50 per cent of COVID-19 fatalities, while patients with non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes and high blood pressure formed more than 85 per cent of the death toll.

He also advised Malaysians to limit visiting family members during the festive season or ‘balik kampung’ (visiting hometowns), as it will be hard to practise social distancing.

“We do not know and cannot see the virus, maybe we have the virus but (without realising) we expose the disease to parents and grandparents,” he said.

In another development, Dr Noor Hisham said there were no COVID-19 infection cases through raw food reported so far.

He said MOH is also waiting for laboratory reports from the Veterinary Services Department to find out whether the virus is found in animals or not.

“But to date, we do not know yet, but if there is the virus (inside the food) it will be dead when the food is cooked,” he said.

When asked regarding the public’s concern on Malaysia’s COVID-19 sporadic cases, Dr Noor Hisham said in the two-week period, only three cases were recorded comprising two severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and one influenza-like illness (ILI).

“It shows the virus in the community is declining but it is still there. If our control is good, we can break the infection chain.

“We are depending on Malaysians to adhere to the SOP. If we want to succeed, Malaysians must unite and be together with MOH to break the COVID-19 transmission chain,” he said.

Asked whether there is a need to conduct health screening in all sectors before allowing to them to resume working, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH maintains the implementation of screening based on ‘targeted approach’, locality and those who have just returned from overseas.

“If we do screening for workers during the first time, they might be allowed to work, but tomorrow and next week they maybe exposed again, the question is, how many times are we going to conduct the test,” he said.

He stressed that screenings which are being carried out by MOH so far have seen to be effective in containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.