PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya needs to consider several factors objectively before deciding to reopen economic sectors, after clusters in the manufacturing sector had led to a surge of Covid-19 cases in Selangor, a health think tank says.
The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy said the government must ask itself three things:
- Is the epidemic under control?
- Is the healthcare system able to cope with a resurgence of cases that may arise after the relaxing of measures and reopening of sectors?
- Is the public health surveillance system able to cope, detect, manage cases, and identify areas where there is a resurgence of cases?
These three questions, Galen CEO Azrul Mohd Khalib said, could help determine whether restrictions can be released slowly or not at all.
“However, the reality is that even with the three answers on the sunny side of good news, releasing lockdowns is both complex and difficult,” he told FMT.
Azrul said key public health measures such as SOPs, including the wearing of face masks, should remain in place even with widespread vaccination.
“The government strategy for reopening must be to protect the health, safety, and security in reopening, closing, and modifying workplaces.”
Last week, Selangor health department director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman said 96 clusters in the manufacturing sector accounted for 54% of the active clusters in Selangor throughout July.
He said it was likely that those in the manufacturing sector contracted the virus within the community and had brought it into the workplace.
Meanwhile, a migrant rights activist has questioned the communications strategies of the government and the private sector in dealing with migrants and foreign workers.
North-South Initiative director Adrian Pereira said the authorities and employers should use the native language of migrants to explain the pandemic and related matters such as SOPs and movement restrictions
He said many foreign workers either spoke very little Bahasa Malaysia or not at all.
“I remember speaking to a foreign worker who had walked around the state capital despite testing positive for Covid-19 as he did not understand what “positive” meant when he got the result,” he said when contacted.
Pereira also said that the government should have roped in NGOs that work with migrants to help get the important messages across. “Yet, till today the government has not reached out to most migrant rights NGOs on how to resolve this,” he said.
Pereira said while many migrants in Selangor were reported to have been infected, it was difficult to trace where they got it from.
“We don’t know if they got it from Malaysians either or from the hostels they live in which are tightly controlled.”
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