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Letter: All Ministries Must Decide Based on Health Expertise

The Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) supports the government’s decision to ensure consistency with the Movement Control Order (MCO), such as keeping barber shops and beauty salons closed and cancelling all Ramadan bazaars this year. We acknowledge that these measures may be disappointing to many Malaysians or hurt small businesses. However, we believe this is the right decision in helping to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

We urge the government to include medical, health and public health expertise in all decision-making relating to the COVID-19 crisis. It is regrettable that some decisions for Phase 3 MCO were made without the necessary input from medical, health and public health experts. 

We urge the government to consider the following:

  1. Strict coordination with the Ministry of Health and health experts

Decisions on a phased restart of the economy and society taken by other Ministries or agencies must be made together with MOH and relevant medical health experts, and not through unilateral decisions.

2. MCO exit strategy

The government should prepare an ‘exit strategy’ for the post-MCO period. This decision must also be based on the advice of medical health and public health experts. We recommend establishing guidelines according to the colour-coded zoning system, where residents and businesses in ‘green’ zones have looser restrictions than ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ zones.

3. Disinfection procedures for the public

Large-scale disinfection and sanitisation efforts must follow evidence-based procedures. Disinfection in public places using unproven methods, such as disinfection tunnels, can create different health risks.

4. Mass gatherings for cultural and religious celebrations

The government should work together with religious authorities, MOH and local authorities in adapting upcoming religious and cultural traditions to avoid mass gatherings and further spread of COVID-19.

We understand that government decisions are intended to be in the Rakyat’s best interest. We believe that stronger, timely collaboration between MOH, the National Security Council, and all other Ministries will ensure a stronger, more coherent and more evidence-based approach to COVID-19.

 

BERKHIDMAT UNTUK NEGARA 

Malaysian Health Coalition
44 Member Societies & 16 Individuals
Full Signature List on myhealthcoalition.org

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