HOUSING and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin took to TV3’s Soal Jawab talkshow last night to justify the expenditure of public funds on a disinfection program undertaken by her ministry, which has been the subject of criticism from health experts.
However, it was her justification on account that how the coronavirus is spread is due to irk the health experts further.
“We still do not know how this coronavirus infects human beings… But earlier, it was said that maybe when we sneeze, maybe airborne and some said through contact and so on,” Zuraida was recorded as stating on the show.
“Thus, in this situation we cannot take any chances. We need to, in those places affected, take precautionary measures, steps to stop the virus from spreading.”
Video excerpts from the show were also posted on Zuraida’s Facebook page.
This is seen as another mind-boggling statement by a Cabinet member, after a series of continuous high profile blunders.
The cause of the spread of Covid19 are well documented as nations around the world have introduced guidelines such as the use of PPEs, Movement Control Orders (MCO) and social distancing, due to the knowledge of those very facts.
A medical doctor currently serving the frontline, who declined to be identified, offered simple advice to Zuraida.
“We know exactly how Covid19 spreads. If she (Zuraida) doesn’t know, she should ask the Health Ministry,” said the doctor.
Extracts from an Al Jazeera report dated March 15
“The coronavirus – known as COVID-19 – spreads from person to person in close proximity, similar to other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu.
Droplets of bodily fluids – such as saliva or mucus – from an infected person are dispersed in the air or on surfaces by coughing or sneezing.
These droplets can come into direct contact with other people or can infect those who pick them up by touching infected surfaces and then their face.
According to scientists, coughs and sneezes can travel several feet and stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes.“ – Al Jazeera
Former Health Department deputy director Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman criticised Zuraida on March 31, calling her act of performing a media gimmick dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) and conducting public disinfection work a waste of public funds which could be directed to better purposes.
Dr Lokman also questioned how the roads and kerbs being sprayed were being infected by Covid19.
“What are they (the personnel) doing? Who is advising them? (It is) truly a waste of money. How are the roads and road curbs being contaminated? By infected people coughing onto them en masse?,” Dr Lokman was quoted as saying by NST Online.
“Even if road surfaces are contaminated, how could they get to your face? By people scrubbing their hands on the contaminated road surfaces and touching their faces? On what basis or evidence are they doing that (disinfecting roads)? Yes, they might say that they are following the standard operating procedure (SOP), but who prepared the SOP and who endorsed it?”