Enforcement agencies at fault for not observing SOPs, says Boon Chye

The lack of SOP compliance by enforcement authorities such as police may have contributed to the spike in Covid-19 cases, say medical experts. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye has called for enforcement authorities to fine-tune certain practices, laying the blame for the spike in Covid-19 cases on their lack of compliance with the SOPs set by the health ministry.

The Gopeng MP was referring to how the second wave of Covid-19 infections was traced to illegal immigrants in Sabah who were detained without proper SOPs being adhered to. The clusters in detention camps then spread to local communities in the state before making its way to the peninsula.

“The government should relook its SOPs. They have to be simple and unequivocal, not something arbitrarily interpreted by enforcement officers.

“To begin with, you know the root cause (of the current spike in cases) is the failure of the government’s own agencies to observe SOPs,” he told FMT.

Dr Lee Boon Chye.

Lee also pointed out that the government is still allowing situations in which infections can easily spread due to a large number of people in enclosed spaces, such as public transport facilities.

He was responding to a statement by Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Wednesday that the use of old SOPs in prisons and detention centres could be one of the reasons behind the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in prisons.

Yesterday, Ismail announced the new SOPs, stating that those reporting at prisons and detention centres will now be swabbed for Covid-19 and quarantined for 14 days before being moved to jail blocks.

Upon testing negative after the second swab on the 13th day of quarantine, they will be moved to the prison blocks where they will be isolated from other prisoners for another five days before being allowed to mix with them.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said the issuing of on-the-spot fines by police, instead of bringing people to the police station, should have been implemented sooner.

“It may have been too late,” Subramaniam said of the decision by the National Security Council announced by Ismail on Wednesday.

“The important thing is that we don’t want Covid-19 to spread. We all have to follow the SOPs strictly.”

Ismail had said that police will now be authorised to issue immediate fines to individuals found breaching Covid-19 SOPs.

Previously, those caught breaching the recovery movement control order were sent to police stations to be issued compound fines.

The matter came to light after a pub customer shared with FMT his dissatisfaction at being transported to a police station in a lorry packed with about 30 people after a raid on a bar in Kuala Lumpur.

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