Guidelines on Closure Being Drafted

Guidelines on closure being drafted in wake of H1N1 outbreak, says Liow

SERDANG: New guidelines are being drawn up for the closure of schools and universities in the wake of the Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the ministry’s technical committee was drawing up the guidelines.

“Now that the situation has changed to the mitigation stage, new guidelines are needed to ensure that schools and universities follow the same guidelines on school closures,” he told reporters yesterday after visiting the Serdang Hospital service centre for patients with flu-like symptoms.

He was asked to comment on the closure of schools.

He also told suppliers of the rapid test kits and face masks not to raise their prices unnecessarily or they would have to answer to the Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry.

Liow ruled out a need to call for a state of emergency with the current A (H1N1) situation, saying that social distancing programmes and measures sufficed for now.

He added that the public could now check at private clinics and hospitals for suspected Influenza A (H1N1).

In Putrajaya, health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the absence of soap at public toilets in certain airports and rest areas along highways was not helping efforts to promote better hygiene in the wake of the flu outbreak.

“But the public would not be able to observe them if there was no soap to even wash their hands,” he told reporters yesterday after launching the fourth edition of the Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

He added that those managing public toilets needed to cooperate with the ministry’s efforts to curb the spread of the flu, especially because of the large numbers of people using the rest areas and airports.

The number of new A (H1N1) cases in a single day hit the highest number yesterday with 270 cases reported, bringing the total number to 2,253. All the new cases were locally transmitted.

Six more A (H1N1)-related deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the number of fatalities to 38.

He said of the six deaths reported yesterday, four involved high-risk patients who suffered from hypertension, diabetes and asthma.



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