Archive for the ‘Covid 19 - #StayAtHome’ Category

311 people nationwide nabbed for flouting SOPs yesterday

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
Dome 300 people were detained and fined for not adhering to the Movement Control Order (MCO). - NSTP/File picDome 300 people were detained and fined for not adhering to the Movement Control Order (MCO). – NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 311 people were detained and fined yesterday for defying the Movement Control Order (MCO), with five remanded and the remaining 306 issued with compounds, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“The offences were for not wearing face masks (97 people), failing to practise physical distancing (75), failing to provide registration tools (69), inter-district or inter-state travels without permission (30), indulging in entertainment centre activities (26) and others (14),” he said in a statement today.

According to Ismail, the Operasi Pematuhan Task Force, led by the police, has inspected 55,495 locations including markets, restaurants, vendors, factories, banks and government offices, among others.

Officers under Operasi Pematuhan are tasked with monitoring the public’s compliance with the Recovery Movement Control Order’s (CMCO) standard operating procedures (SOP), he said.

On securing the country’s borders from external threats, Ismail said authorities arrested 14 illegal immigrants as of yesterday.

“Fourteen illegal immigrants, three boats and one land vehicle were seized yesterday under the ‘Operasi Benteng’ operation against illegal entry of foreigners.

A total 273 roadblocks were also mounted yesterday.

“The government will take stern action against anyone who tries to enter national borders illegally, and the enforcement agencies will continue tightening border controls especially at illegal lanes.”

Ismail added that 40 Covid-19 sanitisation operations were conducted in 10 states and two federal territories on Monday. This includes 11 red zones, four orange zones, nine yellow zones and four green zones.

Ismail, who is the Bera Member of Parliament, also said between July 24 and Nov 30, a total of 79,128 people returned to Malaysia from abroad and were placed at 78 hotels and 17 Public Training Institutes (ILA) as well as the Institute of Private Studies.

“Of that number, 11,270 people are undergoing the mandatory quarantine process, while 502 people have been sent to hospital for treatment. A total of 67,356 people were allowed to go home.

“They returned from 36 countries, namely the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Timor Leste, Taiwan, China, UK, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Egypt, Spain, France, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Ethiopia, Maldives and Oman.

By New Straits Times.

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Workers’ housing: Companies plead for more time to comply with Act 446

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai. - NSTP/File picFederation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai. – NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Companies and employers are facing challenges in complying with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

The act, which seeks to put in place improved accommodations for foreign workers, is facing headwinds brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amongst the challenges faced is that local councils have yet to issue standard operating procedures on the process.

There is also no definite timeline set to assist the industry with the necessary required approvals or endorsements needed as a pre-condition to apply for the Certificate for Accommodation from the Labour Department.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai told the New Straits Times that this has forced companies to hold back their application submission, which in turn, contributes to the low number of companies declaring their approved accommodations.

He stressed that industry players need time to adapt and fully implement the necessary changes as required under Act 446.

“The FMM has actually requested for a 12-month grace period for companies to undertake the extensive adjustments according to the requirements of the law with an assurance of a detailed action plan by companies on their compliance strategies without the imposition of any immediate penalty which is very punitive during this very challenging time.

“This period can be used to continually educate the industry, and for the authorities to issue a notice of non-compliance for improvements by industry in conformity to the provisions of the law within a specified timeframe appropriate to the areas of non-compliance,” he said today.

Other challenges faced are the lack of suitable accommodation available, and the cost involved in renovating accommodation space according to specifications in the local councils’ guidelines.

Industries also face objections from local residents on housing workers at premises in residential areas in close proximity to industrial estates, he said.

With a Covid-19-dampened economy, he said most companies are also juggling their operations towards business recovery.

Labour Department director-general Asri Ab Rahman revealed that only 655 worker dormitories have been declared to the department out of over 54,000 nationwide.

The enforcement of Act 446 began today.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan also pleaded on behalf of employers for more time to comply with the requirements on housing and accommodations for workers.

He said the requirements translate to additional costs and employers are not in the financial position to be able to do so at the moment.

“It is not surprising that only a few submitted the declaration.

“The low compliance rate is due to the fact that improvements required under Act 446 and the regulations are very costly and most employers are currently facing cash flow problems,” he said.

By Mohamed Basyir.

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33 Sabah police frontliners tested positive for Covid-19 in stable condition

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Hazani (file photo)

KOTA KINABALU: Thirty-three police frontliners in Sabah who were tested positive and still undergoing treatment for COVID-19 are in stable condition, according to Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali.

“Another 232 Sabah police frontliners, however, have been instructed to undergo quarantine at quarantine centres,” he told reporters after gracing the Sabah Police Contingent blood donation campaign here today.

Meanwhile, Hazani said the level of compliance with the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) standard operating procedure (SOP) among the Sabahans was at 98 per cent.

“It is at a good level. However, the police and other agencies will continue to monitor the situation so that the compliance level can be maintained or improved,” he added.

Over 200 police officers and personnel were involved in the two-day blood donation campaign to help patients in need as well as increasing the blood supply at local hospitals.

by Bernama.

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Penang Hill Corporation wins ‘MSOSH OSH Gold Class 1 Award’

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

PHC general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng. - NSTP/File pic

PHC general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng. – NSTP/File pic

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) has been awarded the “MSOSH OSH Gold Class 1 Award” under the public sector and statutory bodies category by the Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MSOSH) for the high level of safety and health standards at its worksites.

The PHC was established in 2009 to manage the Penang Hill funicular system and develop Penang Hill as a major ecotourism destination.

PHC general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng regards the award as testament to PHC’s determination in ensuring safety and health practices in the group’s daily work operations.

“We are truly honoured with the award and we thank all our supporters, stakeholders and the PHC team in making this possible.

“This is a wonderful acknowledgement for our work and I believe it will spur us into working harder for the management of our safety and health programmes,” he said.

Organised by MSOSH, the MSOSH OSH Award is aimed at giving due recognition to companies and organisations that have shown outstanding health and safety stewardship and advocate safety and health programmes in their daily operations.

The industrial safety awards are presented annually to organisations that meet the stringent documentation and site verification audit by a panel from various agencies including the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Dosh), the Social Security Organisation (Socso), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh), the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), Sirim Berhad, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), the MSOSH, multinational corporations and private companies.

Cheok said the stellar audit results behind this award demonstrate PHC’s commitment towards occupational safety and health, compliance, training, as well as readiness of emergency response plans.

“We are ISO 9001 and 45001 certified, and we have recently been added to the list of the Covid-19 Safety Accreditation Programme initiated by the Penang government.

“PHC is one of the Penang attractions that emphasises and adheres to strict hygiene and safety standards, including following the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the tourism industry.

“Safety and health are our priority and we will continue to enhance our safety and security standards,” he added.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) until Dec 6, a virtual ceremony for the MSOSH OSH Award 2019 was organised by MSOSH last Thursday.

BAudrey Dermawan.

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Diving activities allowed

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Masidi (left) at the press conference.

KOTA KINABALU: Diving activities are now allowed in Sabah but the ban on inter-district travel at red zones remains in place.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said that the decision to allow diving is because it is categorized under sports and recreational activities that does not involve physical proximity.

He said diving is allowed on the condition that boats ferrying divers to the dive site carry only 30 percent of their capacity and comply with social distancing requirement.

On another note, the sole company licensed to handle clinical waste in Sabah, Sedafiat Sdn Bhd, receives between six metric tonnes and 13 metric tonnes of clinical wastes from the 45 quarantine centres in Sabah.

Masidi said that the Environment Department has been monitoring the company since March this year to ensure they comply with the guidelines set in the handling and management of clinical wastes.

He also said that to address the pile-up of medical wastes in Lok Kawi, where the company is situated, the construction of an incinerator has been suggested to destroy the wastes.

Another solution he mentioned is to ship the medical wastes to Peninsular Malaysia for them to be properly disposed of.

He added that prior to the shipment, the wastes must be properly packaged to ensure they do not compromise the safety and standard fixed.

As of yesterday, another 326 Covid-19 cases were detected in Sabah with one more death reported in Lahad Datu. This brings the total tally of Covid-19 cases in Sabah to 28,771.

About 153 cases or 46.93 percent resulted from close contacts followed by 101 cases (30.98%) from ongoing clusters, 28 cases from symptom-testing, 17 cases of community testing and 27 cases from other categories.

Masidi said that altogether, there are 90 clusters in Sabah with 64 still active. The cluster with the largest number of cases is the Kapayan prison which remains active until now.

The number of patients discharged yesterday was 459 bringing the total number of recovered patients to 25,567.

Meanwhile, 638 patients are still being hospitalized while 1,576 are being treated at PKRC (low risk treatment centres).

He also noted that 61 people are being treated at intensive care wards and 14 people require ventilation assistance.

Only 30.91 percent of beds available in Sabah are being utilized presently.

When presenting the daily Covid-19 briefing for Sabah, Masidi also said that the Temporary Detention Centre in Sibuga, Sandakan will undergo Enhanced Movement Control Order from Dec 2 to 15.

He said that 324 tests had been conducted there, with 104 detected positive involving inmates and staff of the centre.

The implementation of the EMCO involved 1,209 individuals consisting of 1,104 inmates and 105 personnel.

Kg Desa Bajau and Kg Dasar Baru in Lahad Datu will also undergo EMCO during the same period.

The Health Ministry had carried out 665 tests and recorded 90 cumulated cases from the two villages.

The EMCO will affect 914 houses with 4,934 people.

During the period of the EMCO, all social and economic activities will be halted with only retail outlets allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm and the market opens twice a week.

Masidi also said that the average compliance level of the people is 97.88 percent, with the folks in Kinabatangan, Sipitang and Kota Belud recording the highest percentage of compliance at 99 percent.

He mentioned that the shortest recovery period for Covid-19 in Sabah is 10 days but noted that this could be longer for people with prevailing health conditions.

Masidi also commented that politics should take the back seat and that efforts should be focused on stopping the pandemic from worsening.

He said this in reply to a question on the Bugaya by-election which has been announced by the Election Commission to take place in January 4.

However, he reminded that the decision is not up to the State government and urged that the precedent set by Batu Sapi to be made as a consideration.


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Socso to provide test kits for 900k foreign workers

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
It said   panel clinics registered under its Covid-19 Screening Programme were free to determine their service fees.  - NSTP/MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL

It said panel clinics registered under its Covid-19 Screening Programme were free to determine their service fees. – NSTP/MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL

KUALA LUMPUR: The Social Security Organisation (Socso) will provide test kits for about 900,000 foreign workers, who are contributors to the body, for the Covid-19 Screening Programme for Foreign Workers, starting today.

“Socso will provide test kits for only one RTK Antigen test for each foreign worker. Foreign workers who have undergone Covid-19 screening through the RT-PCR method are allowed to undergo the RTK Antigen screening test this time around.

“However, any subsequent test will not be covered by Socso, including the confirmatory RT-PCR test, if a person tests positive for the RTK Antigen test,” it told the New Straits Times yesterday.

It said panel clinics registered under its Covid-19 Screening Programme were free to determine their service fees.

“The service fee, which includes sampling and testing, is determined by the private healthcare facilities.

“Socso, however, hopes private healthcare facilities will not charge exorbitant fees and they should consider it as a social responsibility,” it said.

On Nov 27, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said all foreign workers must undergo Covid-19 screening.

This followed a spike in Covid-19 cases linked to workers at construction sites and factories, particularly the Teratai cluster, the Damanlela construction site and Awan Baru construction site clusters.

Ismail Sabri said Socso would bear the cost of the test kit (RM60) only for the first test, while employers were required to bear the cost of clinic or hospital services.

He said the Human Resources Ministry would enforce the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990, and errant employers would be fined RM50,000 per worker.

Since June 1, employers were allowed to claim a subsidy of RM150 for each screening undertaken by their employees who are Socso contributors under Socso’s Prihatin Screening Programme.

BDhesegaan Bala Krishnan.

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Nadma ready to reactivate facilities at MAEPS

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
Nadma director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim, however said, the opening of the centre is subject to the Health Ministry’s (MOH) decision. - Bernama photo. Nadma director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim, however said, the opening of the centre is subject to the Health Ministry’s (MOH) decision. – Bernama photo.

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) is prepared to reactivate the Low-Risk Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centre at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) if the number of beds in existing health facilities is insufficient.

Nadma director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim, however said, the opening of the centre is subject to the Health Ministry’s (MOH) decision.

He said the agency was currently assisting MOH in increasing the number of beds at existing health facilities such as the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, the National Leprosy Control Centre at Sungai Buloh Hospital and the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital.

“We are currently making use of existing facilities (in the hospitals) and looking into ways to centralise services. If we were to open MAEPS, we need 670 workers, but if we use the existing hospitals we already have the manpower.

At the hospitals we have laboratories to conduct experiments or tests. But if at MAEPS we have to bring all the facilities there. If necessary, we will take three to four days to start operation because we have the experience,” he said when appearing as guest on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme titled ‘Disaster Management During Covid-19 Pandemic’.

On flood preparations, Amidnuddin admitted this year would be different taking into account the current Covid-19 situation.

He said Nadma would serve as coordinator in flood related matters nationwide to ensure that planning could be organised and coordinated smoothly.

“This is the perfect storm. InsyaAllah, we can handle the flood preparation together, (however) when we are talking about the COVID-19 SOP (standard operating procedures), we have discussed this with the agencies involved as well as conducted simulations.

“The simulations are important to be able improve what we have planned as chaos will escalate in the event of disaster…there are some who would refuse to go to temporary evacuation centres (PPS) because they are afraid of leaving their belongings… we have to expect that,” he said.

Following that, he said Nadma has drawn up several action plans such as the SOP before, during and after the flood victims are allowed to return home from their respective PPS.

“For example, when they are instructed to go to a PPS, they have to wear face masks and ensure physical distancing. Although it is going to be quite difficult, we will get the agencies involved to help,” he said.

by Bernama.

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13 metric tons of medical waste pile up in Sabah daily

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the medical waste originates from, among others, 45 quarantine centres scattered throughout the state. - NSTP/ AVILA GERALDINESabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the medical waste originates from, among others, 45 quarantine centres scattered throughout the state. – NSTP/ AVILA GERALDINE

KOTA KINABALU: Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, a waste disposal contractor in Sabah has the unenviable task of disposing of six to 13 metric tons of clinical waste daily.

Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the medical waste originates from, among others, 45 quarantine centres scattered throughout the state.

This is based on daily monitoring conducted by the state’s Department of Environment’s (DoE) waste disposal contractor, Sedafiat Sdn Bhd, since the outbreak in March.

Masidi noted that Sedafiat is the only company licensed by the state DoE to treat and dispose of medical waste throughout Sabah.

“From inspections, there is an increase in clinical waste due to the spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.

“To expedite the disposal of the clinical waste, the state government ensures the management of clinical waste carried out by the company is in accordance with existing guidelines,” he said during an online press conference here, today.

He noted that the company is required to adhere to the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations 2005, Guidelines on the Handling and Management of Clinical Wastes in Malaysia, and prescribed standard operating procedures.

Masidi was responding to a question on whether the state government is monitoring medical waste management by the company, based in the Lok Kawi industrial area, following public complaints that clinical waste is piling up at their compounds and along road shoulders.

He stressed that the state government has also ordered the company to expedite the construction of an incinerator in Sabah, adding that the state DoE has also given the green light for the company to dispose of clinical waste by sending it for treatment in Peninsular Malaysia.

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been asked to inform the port authority as well as customs authority to facilitate and expedite the shipment of these clinical waste containers for immediate treatment.

“The company was also instructed to find a more effective clinical waste packaging method to speed up the loading of jumbo bags containing clinical waste into containers and reduce the accumulation of clinical waste outside its premises,” he said.

Today, Sabah registered 326 new Covid-19 cases and one death, while 2,214 patients are still receiving treatment.

Masidi noted that 459 patients had recovered and were discharged from hospitals in Sabah today, bringing the cumulative number of cured cases to 25,567 people.

When asked about the treatment period of a recovered patient in Sabah, he said the shortest period was 10 days.

“Those undergoing treatment for a longer period are usually due to existing health problem factors such as kidney disease, heart disease and so on.

“Patients with chronic diseases like these are likely to require ventilator and dialysis during treatment as a result of complications that arise,” he said.

By Avila Geraldine.

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Covid-19: 1,212 new cases reported, three fatalities bring death toll to 360 (updated)

Monday, November 30th, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia recorded 1,212 new Covid-19 infections on Monday (Nov 30), with Selangor recording the most number of new cases with 402.

This is followed by Sabah with 326 cases and Negri Sembilan with 141 cases.

The number of recoveries is higher than new cases, with 2,112 patients being discharged Monday.

INTERACTIVE: Latest figures (Malaysia)

In total, 54,759 patients have recovered from Covid-19 in the country and active cases have gone down to 10,578.

INTERACTIVE: Latest figures (Worldwide)

Cumulatively, Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases have reached 65,697.

At a press conference, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there were three new Covid-19 fatalities, taking the country’s death toll to 360.

The three deaths are cases in Alor Setar, Kedah, involving a 66-year-old man, a 58-year-old man in Labuan and a 22-year-old man in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Currently, 113 people are being treated at intensive care units, with 42 of them requiring ventilator support.



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Address issue of crowded, confined accommodation of foreign workers to curb spread of Covid-19 — Health D-G

Monday, November 30th, 2020
KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of crowded and confined accommodation of foreign workers needs to be tackled immediately to ensure that it does cause the spread of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has said.

He said this was in line with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

“Seeing how the issue of Covid-19 infection among foreign workers has become an important matter that needs to be addressed, the Ministry of Health (MoH) urges employers to play a bigger role in jointly tackling it.

“As such, the MoH welcomes the enforcement action under Act 446 by the Human Resources Ministry on employers who fail to comply with the provisions of the Act,” he said in a post on his official Facebook page yesterday.

He said there were several factors that contributed to the transmission of infectious diseases among workers, including accommodation, personal hygiene as well as the environment of the accommodation and workplaces.

He said the MoH had always taken a serious view of incidents regarding the rise in Covid-19 transmissions in workplaces as manpower, be it foreign or local, had always been a valuable asset for any company or organisation.

Earlier in the afternoon, Dr Noor Hisham spent some time to observe field activities for the Awan Baru Construction Site Cluster.

The cluster, involving the districts of Kepong and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, was declared yesterday after Covid-19 cases were detected following the targeted screening of workers at a construction site in Bandar Baru Sentul.

He said as at 8pm on Nov 28, a total of 482 individuals had been screened, with 410 (85.1 per cent) of them testing positive.

“The Kepong Health Office carried out a risk assessment and close contact detection at the construction site and areas around the workplace on Nov 27.

“The construction site was closed under Section 18 (1) (f) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) on Nov 27 for the purpose of cleaning and disinfection,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

by Bernama.

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