Protect children from Covid-19, Suhakam tells Putrajaya as more get infected

Suhakam child commissioner Noor Aziah Mohd Awal says the safety and health of children are paramount as the nation battles the spread of Covid-19.

PETALING JAYA: Suhakam child commissioner Noor Aziah Mohd Awal has reminded the government of its obligation to children in light of 71 positive cases of Covid-19 reported at a tahfiz school recently.

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob ordered a lockdown of seven villages in Hulu Langat district, Selangor, on Sunday after 74 cases of Covid-19 were reported among the 274 students and staff of the Maahad Tahfiz An-Nabawiyyah residential school at Batu 23, Sungai Lui.

Seventy-one of the 74 cases involved students.

Last week, 132 students of another tahfiz school in the area were quarantined as they had attended the tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque last month, which has been linked to multiple Covid-19 cases.

Noor Aziah also said 87 students of a tahfiz school in Terengganu were also placed under quarantine yesterday.

Citing Article 24(1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), she called on the government to recognise the right of children to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilitate the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health, while ensuring that no child was deprived of his or her right of access to healthcare services.

“The government through the ministry of women, family and community development should ensure the child’s well-being is protected and cared for by taking appropriate legislative and administrative measures,” she said in a statement today.

“The government shall also ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with established standards, particularly in the areas of safety, health, the number and suitability of their staff as well as competent supervision.”

With the movement control order (MCO) currently being enforced, children – particularly those who are not under the care of their parents – have a right to protection under the law and not to be discriminated against, she said.

Noor Aziah said MCO measures such as school closures had interrupted children’s daily routines, and there was an increased risk of them being more susceptible to violence and psychosocial distress while staying at home.

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