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(Kuala Lumpur): Malaysia has implemented MCO for more than 40 days and it is great to see that the number of CV-19 cases is declining and the curve also started to flatten. The Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) has organized a webinar to invite expert professionals from public health and NGO sectors to share their insights into what the government and the people could, and/or should do during and after the MCO.

The 7th webinar of MCCC – Beating COVID with the Whole of Malaysia – is moderated by Dr. Khor Swee Kheng, a Physician & Public Health Specialist. Dr. Khor said that the CV-19 pandemic is not only a medical or health problem, it is also a problem of national economy, social, psychological and even political.

Dr. Musa Mohd Nordin, Advisor of Islamic Medical Association Response & Relief Team (IMARET) said that Malaysia should now thinking a safe and middle-of-the-road exit strategy that would not further hurt the economy of Malaysia.

Dr. Musa emphasized 3 crucial elements that should be concerned for the exit strategy: mass testing, tracking and preserving the strength for health services.

Dr. Musa explained that mass testing is essential to stop the CV-19 transmission. It enabled the department to isolate the new cases, to trigger tracking and stop the spread of CV-19 disease. Tracking is important as our country has a large number of migrant workers, these workers are the engine of the industries. The exit strategy should consider a better solution for these migrant workers to do testing to avoid the resurgent risk of CV-19.

Dr. Siti Noor Munirah Ibrahim, Coordinator of Projek Wawasan Rakyat stated that due attention should give to the vulnerable populations such as children, women, those with mental health issues, stateless, refugees and foreign workers.

Dr. Munirah said that the vulnerable populations are struggling for survival during the MCO period. The NGO concern is to make sure they have food and to ensure they are safe from the disease. The society should pay more attention to these communities or otherwise the efforts to combat the CV-19 will be in vain as these populations may not receive, or ignore the restrictions as survival is their most concern.

Dr. Munirah expressed hope that the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to look into the protection, the basic necessities of children, especially in communities that are struggling financially, regardless whether they are Malaysian or non-citizens. And in addition, the Ministry should also take steps to ensure that those children and women who experiencing domestic violence have a safe place to stay.

Talking about the changes in personal practices when the MCO is lifted, Datuk Dr. Christopher Lee, an Infectious Diseases Specialist and the former Deputy Director General (Research and Technical Support) MOH said that social distancing must still be embedded in all our lives to a certain degree for a certain period of time.

Dr. Christopher Lee said that for industries to open up safely after the lifting of MCO, the industries people should work in collaboration with the health experts to formulate a guideline to safeguard the hygiene of the workers, to do testing and take immediate steps such as isolating and tracking, to stop the CV-19 transmission. He also encouraged employers to change the work culture like visitors should write down their names in order to track when somebody is infected, staff to work on shift to avoid crowded, and so on. The employers must do the monitoring and surveillance after the lifting of MCO.

The Ministry of Human Resources and the Ministry of Health should work together to formulate a general guideline for the industries owners and workers. Dr Christopher Lee added.

Considering the deficiency of PPE, Dr. Musa hopes that the Ministry of Finance to invest more on health services by supporting the Ministry of Health (MOH) as he thinks that the PPE should supply by the MOH.