Blindsided by another large-scale health issue?

It would be distressing to see all efforts in combating Covid undone by a different form of public health issue

Pic by BLOOMBERG

WE APPLAUD the efforts taken by the Malaysian government in implementing the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO), initially from June 1-14 and extended until June 28, 2021.

We can see that FMCO is helping to reduce the number of daily infections and help flatten the Covid-19 curve. We hope this initiative, along with the vaccination programme and other efforts, will allow us all to move to a healthier position.

However, we have a concern. Under FMCO, companies that perform water treatment for ponds, water features and swimming pools have had their applications to operate either rejected or not processed. Either way, the companies are not allowed to operate.

For the first two weeks of FMCO, not performing water treatment was not so noticeable. Mostly, what was seen was algae starting to grow. However, what has happened in parallel is that as the chemicals used for treating the water (chlorine) dissolved, it allowed mosquitoes to start laying their eggs.

Without the chemical treatment of the water, now there may be thousands of pools, water features and fountains across Malaysia that are potentially capable of producing dengue mosquitoes.

As we enter the second period of FMCO, there will be more mosquitoes around. In addition, with the majority of residents now staying at home, their exposure has increased.

From our understanding, property holders have a requirement placed on them under the Destruction of Disease Bearing Insects Act 1975 (Act 154) to take every reasonable measure to ensure that they prevent Aedes mosquitoes from breeding, and can be issued a compound if they do not. As such, it has been the writer’s understanding that service providers are providing an essential service to help property holders meet their statutory requirements.

Many property holders are not equipped to perform the servicing and water treatment activities themselves. They do not have the chemical available, the expertise in chemical handling, sufficient knowledge in the systems in use and resources (manpower) available, adding to the dilemma. Therefore, the risks posed by mosquitoes breeding increase.

The people most at risk of getting dengue at the end of FMCO will be the ones who could have helped reduce the threat in the first place — the service workers. One can only wonder what will happen if FMCO is extended for a third two-week period.

It would be distressing to see all the great efforts in reducing the threat of Covid being undone by a different form of public health issue during this pandemic.

Bruce Hope,
CEO of Beribu Jaya Sdn Bhd.


The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.