Letter from the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (Professor Dr Rosmawati Mohamed, Master),
College of Anaesthesiologists (Dato Dr Jahizah Hassan, President),
College of Dental Specialists (Professor Dato’ Dr Lian Chin Boon, President),
College of Emergency Physicians (Dr Ridzuan Dato’ Mohd Isa, President),
College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Dr Michael Samy, President),
College of Ophthalmologists (Dr Nur Fariza Ngah, President),
College of Paediatrics (Professor Dr Thong Meow Keong, President),
College of Pathologists (Professor Dr Cheong Soon Keng, President),
College of Physicians (Dr Letchuman Ramanathan, President),
College of Public Health Medicine (Dato’ Indera Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman, President),
College of Radiology (Dr Amir Fuad Hussain, President),
College of Surgeons (Professor Dr April Camilla Roslani, President)
(The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, embracing 11 Colleges and 15 Chapters, is a registered body representing all the medical specialists in Malaysia).
As the conditional movement control order (CMCO) begins on 4 May 2020 and certain restrictions will be lifted, the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia urges all levels of society to remain vigilant and continue all necessary precautions to ensure that the progress we have achieved so far does not come undone.
We acknowledge that the movement control order (MCO) period has been difficult for the livelihoods of many Malaysians, and a gradual restart of our economy is necessary. We urge the government to work closely with private sector actors, healthcare professionals and the Rakyat to ensure the following:
- Gradual transition to CMCO
Easing of restrictions under conditional MCO should only be implemented in green zones initially.
- Monitor Compliance to SOPs
The government must ensure clear and strict enforcement of the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) released for each sector. Businesses and communities that flout the rules should have their operating privileges revoked and be made to resume regular MCO restrictions. Employees, including non-citizen employees, and community members should also be empowered to report any rule-breaking to the authorities without fear of repercussions .
- Continue Work-from-Home as Default
Working from home must continue as the default work arrangement for all businesses where this is possible. Employers should encourage their employees to stay home and leave the house only when necessary.
- Prepare the Health System
Healthcare professionals must remain vigilant and always ask themselves, “Could it be COVID-19?” There needs to be adequate testing and contact tracing, especially for vulnerable populations such as those in nursing homes, prisons, and among migrant populations. While the targeted testing strategy has been effective thus far, it is important to expand on this to include wider testing as businesses reopen and social activities resume. Meanwhile, care of non-COVID cases also needs to be scaled up.
- Stay Vigilant
We must not let our guard down even as restrictions are lifted. Current habits of good hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding mass gatherings and wearing face masks in public must carry on. We must also adopt new habits of keeping track of our movements to ease contact tracing if necessary. If any COVID-19 symptoms begin showing, seek medical attention immediately.
As we transition into the CMCO, we must remember that the pandemic is not over. COVID-19 remains an active threat and a third wave will be imminent if we do not proceed with caution. The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia will strive to ensure that we work together at all levels of society to continue the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.