Malaysia's Cabinet panel mulling SOP to reduce risk to kids in crowded areas

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PUTRAJAYA - While some complications may arise if some parents are not allowed to bring their children to crowded places, authorities are hoping this can be minimised to reduce the risk of having children exposed to Covid-19.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic) said the special Cabinet committee had discussed the matter at length, including implications if a standard operating procedure is put in place for this.

"For example, if a single mother is not allowed to bring her child when she goes shopping, what are her options?

"If we have a regulation to disallow children from malls, then this single mother will be compounded. But she cannot possibly leave the child at home alone or in the car as this will lead to other problems, " he said in his daily briefing here yesterday.

Ismail Sabri said the committee has asked the Health Ministry and the National Security Council to look into the matter in detail.

He said even without a SOP on this, parents should avoid bringing their young children to crowded places like supermarkets and malls.

Various parties had voiced concern that some parents are taking their children out in contravention of the need to observe social distancing.

Ismail Sabri added the Health Ministry had yet to advise the government on the reopening of hair salons and barber shops.

"For now, they are still not allowed to open. If there is advice from the Health Ministry, only then will the committee discuss giving the green light for these businesses to operate, " he said.

The government had allowed almost all economic and social sectors to resume effective May 4 in an effort to restart the economy, but certain businesses including barber shops and hair salons have yet to be allowed to operate.

On another matter, the minister said the National Unity Ministry will meet with leaders of major religions to discuss counter suggestions put forward by the special Cabinet committee for them to resume activities at their respective houses of worship.

"There are certain issues that need to be looked into in detail. If everything can be agreed upon, then we will announce it, " he said.

The ministry had presented a proposal to allow religious groups to hold activities in view of the flexibility allowed under the conditional movement control order.

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