PETALING JAYA: Screening frontliners in the various business sectors is an appropriate move to prevent a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
Its president Dr N. Ganabaskaran said testing cashiers, waiters, servers and shop assistants can serve as an added measure to prevent the spread of the virus.
He advised people who work in very confined spaces and who meet many other people daily to take extra precautions such as going for Covid-19 screening regularly or make adjustments to their work environment.
Ganabaskaran noted that businesses, perhaps prompted by fears of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastation it will cause, are taking no chances.
On the whole, the business community has taken all the necessary steps to ensure full compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) such as wearing face masks and ensuring personal hygiene to prevent another wave of infections.
“The fear of another MCO (movement control order) has given us the right balance.”
“The emphasis on safety has enabled businesses to resume operations and economic activities to continue,” he added.
Ganabaskaran said the measures taken under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) has been effective in preventing the spread of the virus.
“Placing only identified cluster areas or hotspots under an EMCO and allowing the rest of the country to proceed with some economic activity was the right move,” he said.
He also commended the Health Ministry move to conduct mass screening at affected areas, which he said was successful in containing the spread of Covid-19.
However, he said the people have the greatest responsibility in ensuring full compliance with the SOP.
“So far, we have been having a high compliance rate of 90% to 95%.”
Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur respiratory physician Dr Helmy Haja Mydin said there needs to be a balance between public health priorities and socio-economic demands.
“The balance between economic and health concerns should not be mutually exclusive,” he said.
“The economic engine will only start moving once health concerns have been addressed. But without economic movement, there will be increased levels of poverty which will affect health and healthcare delivery.”
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president T. Muthusamy said frequent testing of staff for Covid-19 would add significantly to the costs of operating eateries.
“The question that arises is who should foot the RM200 bill for each person who has to be screened? We had to bear huge losses during the MCO,” he said.
“We are aware of the need to protect our customers and we do it based on the government’s guidelines.”