PM, Please Form A National Intersectoral Covid-19 Task Force Now — Dr John Teo

The Health Ministry working in silo cannot continue to tackle this problem alone.

Dear PM,

Three recent events in the last 48 hours indicate that Malaysia should now accelerate its response to the Covid-19 infection without delay.

First is the WHO declaring the Covid-19 is now a pandemic, secondly is that Malaysia detected its first sporadic case (no history of travel to affected area or had contact with infected person: an indication that the disease had spread into the community) and thirdly is that cases are now detected in multiple states in Malaysia.

We may be on the verge of the infection getting worse and uncontrollable putting the lives of many Malaysians at risk.

Sir, they are all your people, your country’s citizen, women, children, men, old and young alike.

In any crisis of such magnitude, no person, doctor, hospital, state, ministry or even government alone can tackle it effectively.

Recent weeks have taught us that to tackle the infection spread, we need very rapid, clear response and messaging. It also involves many departments, ministries, sectors and the public. Above all, it involves the highest political office to make important timely life-saving decisions that may not always be popular nor acceptable.

The problem of shortage of sanitisers and masks involve the Ministry of Domestic Trade, private sector manufacturers, distributors, hospitals, clinics and appropriate public messaging.

The recent religious gathering of 10,000 people at a mosque attended by patient infected with Covid-19 now presents a potentially worsening of the spread of the virus. To tackle such a problem may need religious authorities with guidelines in collaboration with experts on infectious disease.

The DG of Health later clarified that what was thought to be sporadic case was actually linked to a religious event.

The travel and tourism industry is badly affected and may need an economic stimulus and protection plan working alongside the Ministry of Finance, banks, industry stakeholders and many more.

Many problems cut across many sectors as some may fear to be tested in case they are quarantined and lose their income and even some clinics or health care facilities have similar concerns. Until and unless these concerns are addressed in a timely and practical manner, many may not come forward and thus our containment efforts may be futile.

The Health Ministry has been doing a valiant and fantastic job led by our Director-General and top management, but MOH working in silo cannot continue to tackle this problem alone. Many doctors and nurses are tired and we need new batches to replace them. The emotional and physical drain on many is now evident.

There are also many talents and top brains not only in the Ministry of Health and the government, but also in the private sector as well as across all other sectors. It’s important to harness the best of Malaysian experts, regardless of where they are from or which side of the fence they are sitting.

This is the time for co-operation not division, solidarity not fighting, and sincerity in saving every Malaysian.

We need for once to come together, form a national task force with one direction and one voice headed by yourself or your second-in-command.

Let’s do it together before it’s too late and to every Malaysian, let’s do our part too.

Together we shall overcome.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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