By Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
SHAH ALAM, May 10 — The recent upsurge in Covid-19 infections in the country, which began to spike with more than 2,000 daily cases in mid-April, have raised public concern as to whether the current overwhelming situation unfolding in India would take place here in Malaysia.
Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 (STFC) committee member Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, however, had cited several neighbouring countries that had successfully contained the coronavirus in which Malaysia could take an example from.
She said some of the approaches that can be emulated by Malaysia include the use of advanced technology, such as in Taiwan and South Korea, and the whole-of-society approach as practised in Vietnam, Bhutan and Rwanda.
“Of course, Taiwan and South Korea are developed nations that are able to extensively use advanced technology, which is among their secret in handling the Covid-19 outbreak. But this is something we can follow suit as we do have experts that could help in using technology.
“When the number of cases spike, we would have to do contact tracing and to do this manually is a difficult task.
“Therefore, if we can use technology, like how it is done in Selangor, we identify the areas that have high infectivity rate and instead of doing contract tracing, we just go in and conduct mass testing operations. This is the strategy done in other countries such as Slovakia and to a certain extent in the UK, although they were a bit late… similar to the situation in Malaysia,” said Dr Adeeba on an online forum titled ‘Ask Anything: Covid-19 Kills’ broadcast live on Facebook today.
Other panellists on the forum include Selangor Public Health, Unity, Women Empowerment And Family Committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud Selangor Task Force Operation (STFO) director Dr Muhammad Farhan Rusli.
Dr Adeeba said the whole-of-society approach had helped less developed countries such as Vietnam, Bhutan and Rwanda, in containing the pandemic. She said the move includes local residents working closely together in teaching one another on Covid-19 information, how to combat the virus as well as conducting contact tracing and awareness programmes.
“This is something we are lacking because as of now, what we can see is that the people are only depending on the government to act. We only adhere to the rules because we are afraid of getting fined or jailed.
“We have come to a point where we ourselves must know how we could get infected and how to avoid it instead of just waiting for the government to act before we have actually done something,” she added.
Meanwhile, Dr Siti Mariah had reiterated the importance of adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in order to break the chain of infections.
“To curb the spread of the infection does not require money. SOP compliance such as social distancing is enough to prevent the spread.
“But the problem is, our people are easily complacent and we forget… therefore we must continue to comply with the SOP and adjust to the new norms in life in order to protect ourselves,” she said.