Lawmaker calls for details on outbreak plans for the vulnerable

While the government has assured the public that it is prepared for a possible mass outbreak of Covid-19, a lawmaker has requested that the government provide more detail about how members of vulnerable groups will be isolated.

Lawmaker Leong Hong Sai, deputy executive director of the Collective Wisdom Policy Center, has advised the government to provide more detailed information on the arrangements that will be in place for isolating patients who are vulnerable.

For example, he said, contingency plans should detail who will take care of children if single parents fall ill. “Can they stay with their ill parents at the makeshift hospital in this case?” Leong asked.

Moreover, he questioned whether the government will have enough staff to help visually impaired patients in the temporary hospital, as this will be a completely unfamiliar environment for them.

“Basically, will there be sufficient accessible facilities in the makeshift hospital?” he asked.

Furthermore, the government should also work with associations to run workshops on the use of rapid antigen tests to “better prepare people for the procedure of [conducting] the antigen tests by themselves,” he explained.

Another area that Leong feels requires special attention is the provision of crucial resources, such as food. He fears that if logistics workers contract the virus and fall ill, the delivery of supplies may not be possible.

Accordingly, the lawmaker has recommended that the government clarify its contingency plans for logistics issues. Stress tests and accurate budgeting must be run so as to ensure plans are feasible.

On Wednesday, Hon Wai, President of the Social Welfare Bureau, announced that, on compassionate grounds, vulnerable people and their caregivers may stay together at the makeshift hospital even if only one of the two has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. AL

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