What you need to do/know if you visited a potential Covid-19 hotspot in Malaysia's HIDE list

·4-min read
A woman wearing a face mask shops for groceries at a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur January 9, 2021. — File picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A woman wearing a face mask shops for groceries at a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur January 9, 2021. — File picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — The Malaysian government today released its first-ever list of locations nationwide that an artificial intelligence system has flagged as potentially becoming Covid-19 hotspots, with the list of over 150 places including shopping malls, hypermarkets and grocery stores.

In a list of frequently-asked-questions attached to the hotspots list, the government answered all the questions that Malaysians might have about such potential hotspots.

Here’s a summary:

Potential hotspots ≠ Actual clusters

First of all, these potential hotspots are not actual Covid-19 clusters that have been identified by the Health Ministry.

Instead, these locations have the potential or are at risk of becoming actual Covid-19 clusters if no corrective actions are taken.

How are these potential hotspots detected?

The Health Ministry’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) developed and manages the Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE), which is a big data analytics and AI system which predicts MySejahtera premises that are at risk of becoming Covid-19 hotspots over a seven-day horizon.

The HIDE system makes these predictions based on MySejahtera check-ins and other existing healthcare databases.

With around 90 per cent of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia attributed to just 0.2 per cent, premises registered on MySejahtera, the HIDE system will enable a more targeted approach as well as pre-emptive actions on the potential hotspots. This will also reduce the need on blanket measures for Covid-19, while authorities can better manage enforcement resources.

I visited a HIDE-flagged location, what should I do?

“If you have visited the premises within seven days after the premises was flagged by HIDE, you are encouraged to isolate yourself, minimise further contact with others, and monitor yourself for any symptoms.

“If you develop symptoms over the next 14 days, you are advised to take a Covid-19 test at your nearest health screening facility.”

Is this a permanent list?

No, the HIDE system will generate a daily list of predicted potential hotspots that will be published by the Health Ministry to enable Malaysians and businesses to self-regulate.

Check the list that is published everyday to make informed decisions on your movement and conduct.

A general view of the Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur January 14, 2020. — File picture by Hari Anggara
A general view of the Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur January 14, 2020. — File picture by Hari Anggara

Business owners

Why did my premises appear on the list of potential Covid-19 hotspots?

Based on backward and forward contact tracing using MySejahtera check-in data, your premises was visited by a “sizeable” number of individuals who were potentially exposed to Covid-19 positive individuals.

What should I do if my premises is on the list of potential Covid-19 hotspots?

You do not need to shut down unless required to do so by enforcement authorities.

You are advised to quickly carry out these pre-emptive actions, including:

― Enhance gatekeeping such as by denying individuals with “high-risk” status on their MySejahtera app from entering

― Have your workers undergo Covid-19 testing (either RTK-AG or RT-PCR tests)

― Enhance crowd control measures especially for areas with tight spaces or that are prone to overcrowding

The faster you respond with corrective actions, the better the chances to prevent a Covid-19 cluster from happening.

The seven days after your premises is listed on the list (Day One starts when it is listed on HIDE) is when your premises is most at-risk of having a cluster materialise if no preventive actions are taken.

How do I get my premises off the HIDE list of potential Covid-19 hotspots?

If no hotspots materialise at your premises following pre-emptive actions, your premises will likely be removed from the list within seven days of publication. (The government will publish a daily list of premises that have been taken off the HIDE list).

Don’t let your guard down

“Having said that, these pre-emptive actions (ie. gatekeeping, crowd-control, and rapid testing of workers) are best practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We strongly advise businesses not to let their guard down even after the premises have been taken off the HIDE list.

“We would like to stress that there is a possibility of a premises being listed on the HIDE list more than once, which is usually an indication that controls have been inadequate. High-traffic, poor ventilation and crowded premises are most at-risk,” the FAQ said.

Read here for the full list of more than 150 potential Covid-19 hotspots released today by the government, with 80 per cent of them located in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

The list also includes locations in Putrajaya, Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

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