Human management

Rina: Covid-19 SOP in place for disaster management

KUALA LUMPUR, December 24 – The federal government has developed a Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) for disaster management that includes mandatory face covering, social distancing and coronavirus testing for victims.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun, in a written response to Parliament on December 22, said: “Our final challenge in disaster management situations is the spread of Covid-19 which requires a specific set of SOPs. Therefore, an SOP has been developed as a reference source for all parties involved in disaster management.

She said this in response to Senator Ahmad Azam Hamzah, who asked whether the Department of Social Welfare was prepared to face the monsoon season and on the form of cooperation with other departments and agencies to ensure that the help reaches those in need.

The list of SOPs includes medical screening of victims and duty officers, isolation of symptomatic victims, and movement controls such as banning group activities.

During the ongoing catastrophic flooding in the Klang Valley and in six states of the peninsula that have killed 37 people to date, with 10 people still missing, numerous members of the police, fire and rescue service and the army were seen in photos without masks during their search and rescue efforts. Some temporary evacuation centers (PPS) visited by Rina also seemed to be crowded.

Rina said the food distribution will also only involve packaged food. In addition, public visits to the PPS throughout the Covid-19 pandemic are not permitted.

In order to ensure that social distancing is respected, distancing markers will be placed in the registration area, catering counters and waiting areas of the PPS.

“Victims and outreach workers should also practice personal hygiene at all times by always wearing face masks and applying 3W (washing / wearing / warning),” Rina said.

Rina said the welfare department has channeled allowances worth RM 7.3 million for the year 2021/2022 to state governments to deal with any disasters. The provision is for the purchase of basic necessities and dry food, among other things, to help victims in need.

The department also identified and provided a total of 5,731 PPS nationwide capable of accommodating 1.6 million disaster victims at a time.

Rina said the PPS meets the standards that have been set of sufficient capacity including the general layout or arrangement of sleeping areas, dining rooms and prayer areas.

The PPS should also have basic facilities such as drinking water, electricity, toilets and bathrooms. This premise of PPS is also to be disaster safe and friendly to people with disabilities, children and women.

Health Director General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement yesterday that 390 cases of Covid-19 were reported among the victims of the floods, without any new coronavirus infection having been detected in the PPS yesterday.