Health D-G: Housing Ministry, local councils’ disinfection ops done without proper guidelines

John Bunyan
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin carries out a public disinfection operation at a wet market in Jalan Othman March 31, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has advised local authorities today to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) to carry out disinfection procedures, following criticisms over the public exercises.

He said the Ministry of Health (MOH) will communicate with the local authorities such as the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) as well the Ministry of Housing and Local Government on its guidelines on how to conduct disinfection operations.

“We thank and welcome the initiatives taken by the authorities on the disinfection programmes, but they should follow the ministry’s SOP. We will advise what needs to be done and what to avoid,” he said in a press conference this evening.

Dr Noor Hisham said the recent disinfection operations carried out by the local authorities such as DBKL, district councils and also the ministry, were done before the MOH could provide guidelines.

“For example, in the use of chemical substance which has been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the way to implement it.

“So this issue is more on the implementation. Maybe we will take action to advise on how to implement the operation correctly,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham was responding to the concern raised by several experts over the SOP of the disinfection operation with some describing it as a waste of resources, and suggested that the money could be spent on for hospital staff who are preparing their own personal protective equipment (PPE).

Yesterday, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin who wore PPE, along with the ministry’s personnel, were seen carrying out a public disinfection operation at a wet market in Jalan Othman here.

Among the criticisms were that the operation was carried out by a minister untrained in the procedure, in addition to the way chemical-laced water were used to disinfect roads and curbs rather than surfaces that come into direct contact with humans.

Separately, Dr Noor Hisham also said that crowd in markets need to be controlled and the customers need to practice social distancing in order to avoid the spread of the disease.

“All the precautionary measures need to be taken and a good hygiene needs to be maintained throughout the process. So we need to control the crowd.

“Basically, we need to look into the implementation... as long as the public can follow our standard operating procedures to avoid contact, [maintain] good spacing and hand washing, we can give the green light,” he added.

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