Lack of Socso-approved clinics among challenges for workers to undergo Covid-19 screening

Sim Kiang Chiok

KUCHING, Apr 17: It will be a daunting task for workers in Sarawak to undergo Covid-19 screening from Social Security Organisation (Socso)-approved clinics as there are not many of such private clinics in Sarawak, said Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) Kuching chairman Sim Kiang Chiok.

He said this was based on State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)’s statement that Sarawak was in need of more test kits for patients and their trace contacts due to shortage of supply worldwide.

“Even if Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and Ministry of Health (MOH) approved the Sarawak companies to work during this Movement Control Order (MCO), it has been announced by the SDMC yesterday (April 16) that all approvals from Miti will have to be considered and approved by SDMC before any works can proceed.

“We in Sarawak are fighting this Covid-19 pandemic based on our own requirements because of our different nature from Malaya,” Sim said in a statement issued today.

He added that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for construction to proceed during the MCO has been drawn up by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) which insisted on social distancing, health and hygiene guidelines apart from what was announced by the Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

“The reduction of workforce to the minimum or 50 per cent of the workforce, the social distancing, health and hygiene requirements will have higher cost implications due to slower progress and higher overheads.

“We appreciate that the Federal Government is providing the leadership to combat the virus and it has been more than four weeks of MCO and its good that they have started the ‘Exit Plan’ from the MCO.

“Of course we hope that the execution of our Exit Plan will be timed perfectly so that we would be able to control it from spreading again and to ensure that the infection curve remain flat when MCO is lifted,” he said.

Sim pointed out that until a vaccine is ready or a cure is found, people’s lifestyle will not be the same as before and social distancing will be imposed on the way people work, play, travel and worship.

“The outlook on our economy will be most challenging and will require strong leadership from the government and cooperation by all sectors of the society including all businesses to pull through this world pandemic,” he said.

Sim was commenting on Azmin’s recent statement that all employees working with companies that were allowed to operate during MCO undergo screening at any of the 3,000 over Socso panel health clinics nationwide according to guidelines by the MOH.

Azmin added that his ministry would collaborate with the Human Resources Ministry through Socso as part of the government’s effort to ensure that all the employees were free from the Covid-19 virus.

According to Azmin, Socso has agreed to bear the Covid-19 screening fee for all employees required to do the check-up.

Aside from the mandatory screening, Azmin said companies that are allowed to operate during MCO are also required to provide thermal scanners as well as screening for symptoms of coughing, sore throat or breathing difficulties.

“The readings of the workers must be recorded and kept for a period of at least three months for reference,” added Azmin. —DayakDaily