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May 7, 2020

Malaysia could face second wave of Covid-19 infections after lifting restrictions, warns Aussie healthcare provider

A general view of Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur May 6, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — The recent announcement by the Malaysian government to rapidly relax the restrictions with the nationwide movement control order (MCO) has invited cautionary advice from Energesse, an international healthcare solutions provider headquartered in Australia.

Chief executive officer and founder Dr Avnesh Ratnanesan is cautioning that a second wave of Covid-19 may strike and prove to be more challenging and disruptive to business and social patterns with the easing of the nationwide MCO.

“An overly lax approach would also weigh heavily on healthcare workers and the health system, many of whom have been under immense, significant strain over the last eight weeks with the MCO,” Dr Avnesh, a Malaysian national and an Australian permanent resident, told Bernama.

Dr Avnesh has been providing tools and advice to the Australian health services on managing the current pandemic more effectively.

He elaborated that with the government measures to allow a return to work from May 4, the extent of alleviation at which this is being done is too quick as other countries are now struggling with a second wave due to government complacency in assuming that they had the first wave well contained.

“Some companies have been able to maintain productivity while working from home and this should continue to be encouraged.

“In many instances, economists and epidemiologists actually agree based on data-based modelling that the gradual approach to alleviation of restrictions is best for both business and health. Governments across the world are relying on mathematical projections to help guide decisions in this pandemic,” he said.

Dr Avnesh recommends the Malaysian government use more data, modelling and even AI-based algorithms to inform and guide their decision-making, rather than subjective opinions from individuals that may not fully comprehend the complexities of the short-term and long-term public health and economic variables involved.

“We developed a digital tool called the PMme (Pandemic Management for me). The PMme is a customised audit and decision-support tool for healthcare CEOs and directors in hospitals and health services.

“It is helping these organisations identify their gaps and strengths against international best practices in pandemic preparedness and response activities. It is also helping them monitor and improve their progress over time in order to manage scarce resources effectively.

“The government has to balance the immediate short-term intervention of the MCO and the medium-term impacts emerging from a quarantine period of over eight weeks,” he said.

Dr Avnesh also recommended the introduction of a ‘Health Hour’ for individuals to be encouraged to leave their home for one hour a day and within a one-kilometre radius from their home to jog or play sport within the prescribed practice of social distancing.

“This serves as a policy enhancement to boost the collective health mindset and support immunity building,” he said. — Bernama

Source from: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/05/07/malaysia-could-face-second-wave-of-covid-19-infections-after-lifting-restri/1863891

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