PUTRAJAYA, July 10 — The ‘Greater Klang Valley’ special task force was established with the aim at strengthening health system preparedness in the Klang Valley in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said its role was to address the current situation, especially the desperate need for beds and manpower in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
“The task force has been set up by the Health Ministry to look at a wider scope, we call the ‘Greater’ Klang Valley. It is a pandemic frontier.
“Although it is called ‘Greater’ Klang Valley, we will also include south Perak, west Pahang and northern part of Negeri Sembilan where there is a unified command centre,” he told a special press conference on the Ministry of Health (MOH) preparedness strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in the Klang Valley, here today.
He said the special task force which began operating last Thursday is led by Public Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Chong Chee Kheong.
Subsequent to this, Dr Adham said Dr Chong’s position in the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) has been replaced by Health deputy director-general (Research and Technical Support) Datuk Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim.
He said the task force would ensure the readiness of all MOH hospitals including private service operations involved in COVID-19 treatment, for proper pandemic management.
In addition, Dr Adham said it was the function of the task force to make thorough preparations before the Emergency Ordinance ends on Aug 1.
He said this was because currently the MOH has taken over the management and facilities of various agencies and ministries through the implementation of the Emergency Ordinance.
However, when the emergency period is over, the non-MOH facilities must be returned to the respective agencies and ministries.
“This month preparations will have to be made, for example, the MOH secretary-general Datuk Mohd Shafiq Abdullah will have to renegotiate with the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) because during the Emergency, we have taken over Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital (HUKM) Children’s Specialist Hospital,but when the emergency ends, we can no longer use the facility to treat COVID-19 cases.
“As such a fresh agreement must be signed with the MOHE so that the hospital may continue to be used to treat COVID-19 patients,” he said adding that the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) must also be reviewed when the emergency ends.
Meanwhile, Dr Chong said the task force was set up to focus on COVID-19 transmission in the Klang Valley and its border areas because of the movement of people.
“Due to the surge in cases, there is a great need to ensure sufficient beds, equipment and manpower to manage the situation,” he said.