Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 turns to tech to contain outbreak

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
STFC chairman Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad says the task force is determined to put forward all recommendations and necessary actions in line with scientific proof and the latest information. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Analytical platforms utilising Big Data Analytics and Machine Intelligence have been set up by the Selangor state government to assist its state Task Force for Covid-19 (STFC) in battling the coronavirus outbreak.

STFC chairman and former health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the introduction of the advanced computerised systems is to allow his task force to offer more informed recommendations and evidence-based advice to the mentri besar when undertaking local interventional measures in handling the outbreak.

“As a guide to the Selangor mentri besar who directs the state machinery in undertaking localised interventional measures, STFC is determined to put forward all recommendations and necessary actions in line with scientific proof and the latest information.

“To achieve this purpose, an analytical platform compatible with Big Data Analytics and Machine Intelligence has been developed so that STFC’s recommendations can be backed up by the latest scientific research, which is ever changing during the period of this epidemic,” he said in a statement today.

He explained the use of Big Data and Machine Learning would then allow the state to conduct communal screenings and contact tracing in a more efficient and organised manner.

“It (the technology) will also allow STFC members to not only focus on issues surrounding the strains of the Covid-19 outbreak, but also take into account the population’s burdens, the distribution of those marginalised like single mothers and senior citizens, those in the lower income group, and socio-economical factors when it comes to arranging and taking action according to order of priority,” he elaborated.

In acknowledging the inferior role of the state government to the Health Ministry, Dzulkefly stressed the intelligence gathered by the STFC would ultimately be meant to work in tandem to complement the ongoing efforts being taken at the federal level.

“By supplying a little expertise and experience from the members of STFC, we are committed to raising the ability of the state of Selangor, and among others, submit recommendations to the State Health Department to contain the outbreak of the SARS CoV-2 virus, as well as reducing the number of Covid-19 patients in Selangor.

“The state government acts within the framework of complementing the efforts of the Health Ministry, who are the Custodians of Health for the entire Malaysia,” Dzulkefly said.

His statement also pointed out the efforts done at the state level which have been made the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the STFC to mitigate the outbreak.

Some of the activities include raising the public’s level of awareness and general understanding of the virus and the importance of maintaining good hygiene.

The STFC was also tasked with formulating guidelines for social areas such as schools, universities, childcare centres, shopping malls and other places that usually see crowds of people.

Concerning the high number of Covid-19 infections in Selangor and four districts now classified as red zones, Dzulkefly said the STFC has already focused its attention on increasing the compliance rate of the movement control order (MCO) and other preventive measures, with the cooperation of local authorities and civil society groups.

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