Rina: Covid-19 SOPs In Place For Disaster Management

The SOPs include mandatory face covering, social distancing, and Covid-19 screening for victims and officers on duty at evacuation centres.

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

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

She said this in response to Senator Ahmad Azam Hamzah, who asked about the readiness of the Social Welfare Department in facing the monsoon season, and the form of cooperation with other departments and agencies to ensure that assistance reaches people in need.

The list of SOPs includes health screening for victims and officers on duty, isolation for victims that are symptomatic, and movement controls such as bans on group activities.

During the ongoing flood disaster in the Klang Valley and six states in the peninsula that has killed 37 people so far, with 10 people still reported missing, many members of the police, Fire and Rescue Department, and the military were seen in pictures without face masks during their search and rescue efforts. Certain temporary evacuation centres (PPS) visited by Rina also appeared to be crowded.

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

In order to ensure that social distancing is observed, distancing markers will be placed at the registration area, food counters, and waiting areas at the PPS.

“Victims and outreach officers must also practise personal hygiene at all times by always wearing face masks and applying 3W (wash/ wear/ warn),” Rina said.

Rina said the Social Welfare Department has channelled allocations worth RM7.3 million for the year 2021/2022 to state governments to manage any disaster. The provision is for the purchase of basic necessities and dry food, among others, to help victims in need.

The department has also identified and provided a total of 5,731 PPS throughout the country that are capable of accommodating 1.6 million disaster victims at one time. 

Rina said the PPS meets the standards that have been set, namely sufficient capacity, including overall layout or arrangement for sleeping areas, dining areas, and prayer areas. 

The PPS must also have basic facilities such as clean water, electricity, toilets and bathrooms. This PPS premise must also be safe from disaster, and friendly for people with disabilities, children, and women.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement yesterday that 390 Covid-19 cases have been reported among flood victims, without any new coronavirus infections being detected in PPS yesterday.

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