Guidelines meant to give frontliner’s children special attention, says health DG

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the decision to separate frontliners’ children is because their parents are in a high-risk group.

PUTRAJAYA: The health ministry has denied that it will be segregating children of frontliners at childcare centres or nurseries, following a recent guideline which sparked allegations of discrimination.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah clarified today as those on the frontlines were among the high-risk groups, the ministry wanted to give special attention to their children.

This was because the frontliners were exposed to viruses, and not only that of Covid-19, he said.

Based on the guidelines issued by the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for nurseries, he said, such risks needed to be considered.

“We are not preventing the children from going to nurseries.

“It is not a form of discrimination. We are merely concerned about the risks.

“Maybe the way we explained the matter gave the impression that they would be segregated, but we are actually giving them special attention,” he told reporters at his daily press conference here.

The women, family and community development ministry recently updated guidelines calling for childcare centres or nurseries to separate frontliners’ children from other children because of the increased risk that frontliners’ children have of being infected with Covid-19.

The guidelines on preventing infectious diseases at childcare centres or nurseries were revised on May 22.

They led to criticisms by the Malaysian Medical Association and 250 paediatricians, supported by the Malaysian Paediatric Association, who signed a letter protesting against the guidelines.

The paediatricians described the guidelines as a “slap in the face” of the frontliners, who were recently described by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as “our national heroes”.

Noor Hisham said the ministry was still collecting feedback on the matter before raising it up with the National Security Council.

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