Tuesday, September 26

Govt urged to enforce physical distancing to curb potential spread of new Covid-19 variants


Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow

KUCHING (Jan 9): The government should enforce physical distancing measure in public areas to help curb any potential spread of new Covid-19 variants following the reopening of China’s international borders, said Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow.

“China already moved away from Zero Covid-19 policy and is now opening its international borders. Many people are concerned about the potential increase of Covid-19 infections and spread of new variants from China.

“Besides wearing face mask, washing hands and taking Covid-19 vaccine, physical distancing could also play an important role to stop the spread of Covid-19 and its new variants to protect people’s health,” he said in a statement today.

The Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia Faculty of Syariah and Law associate professor said physical distancing ought to be observed and practised in places like shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, places of worship and public transport, offices, classrooms and lecture halls.

“The government should also urge the public to temporarily restrain themselves from organising any activities which could attract crowds,” he added.

Muzaffar even suggested stern legal action be taken against any individuals who fail to adhere to the physical distancing requirement under existing laws in the country like the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

According to him, wearing face mask and practising physical distancing matter in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

He said many medical experts across the globe had given such advice since the outbreak of the virus two or so years ago.

“We cannot implement one measure while ignoring other measures when it comes to stopping the spread of Covid-19 effectively,” he said.

Muzaffar pointed out that physical distancing is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions intended to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

He said it usually involves keeping a certain distance from others and avoid gathering in large groups.

“By minimising the probability of a given uninfected person coming into physical contact with an infected person, the disease transmission can be suppressed, resulting in fewer infections and even deaths,” he said.

He added that physical distancing can be enforced alongside other measures such as wearing of face mask and hand sanitising.

Muzaffar asserted that physical distancing is the most effective measure to curb the spread of infectious diseases while noting that the World Health Organization has recommended a one metre distance.