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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

No plans to shut down malls despite Covid-19 cases, says health DG

 

Dr Noor Hisham says health officials will conduct a risk evaluation of malls before taking any action.

PUTRAJAYA: The health ministry has no plans to shut down malls despite Covid-19 cases being detected at several venues in the Klang Valley.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry will conduct a risk evaluation in the area and advise them to disinfect the sites.

“If it is a crowded place, like restaurants, then we will close it.

“But if it’s a vast space and we’re not sure if it’s been visited by individuals who tested positive, then we will just advise them to disinfect the place,” he said at a press conference here.

Covid-19 cases were recently reported at NU Sentral Mall, KL Gateway Mall, Sunway Pyramid Mall and Suria KLCC.

Noor Hisham noted that the country had seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases since Sept 7, mainly due to the surge in Sabah and Kedah.

However, he said the health ministry has taken multiple preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus, especially in Sabah.

This included implementing targeted enhanced movement control orders (TEMCO) in Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kunak and Semporna earlier this week and sending over personal protective equipment (PPE) and frontliners to help with more screenings in the state.

Commenting on those returning from Sabah after the polls, Noor Hisham said screenings at KLIA and klia2 went smoothly yesterday.

“We have ended 99 clusters, which means we have successfully practiced public health intervention to curb the spread of the infection.

“On Sept 27, we started screening everyone returning from Sabah but there were many people coming back that day. So, maybe on the first day we had a few hiccups but we have since increased our staff and counters to conduct tests.”

He added that those returning from Sabah who tested negative but showed symptoms or came in close contact with a positive case, will have to undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

Those who tested negative and are asymptomatic will be advised to comply with SOPs and to self-regulate by undergoing home quarantine for 14 days.

If they are unable to quarantine at home due to lack of space or suitable rooms, Noor Hisham said they may request to be placed in quarantine centres.

He also said the health ministry has identified a new criteria in classifying Covid-19 deaths, whereby a positive case will not be included in the death tally if the cause of death was not Covid-19.

“If they were Covid-19 positive but got involved in a car accident and passed away, we will not include them. Now we do it (classify deaths) through perspective rather than retrospective.” - FMT

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