HFMD cases down 55pc in Sibu as children adapt to new normal amidst Covid-19 pandemic, says health officer

Sibu Divisional Health Officer Dr Teh Jo Hun says the MCO and strict SOP have helped to reduce HFMD because of physical distancing, wearing of face masks and hand hygiene. — Reuters pic
Sibu Divisional Health Officer Dr Teh Jo Hun says the MCO and strict SOP have helped to reduce HFMD because of physical distancing, wearing of face masks and hand hygiene. — Reuters pic

SIBU, Aug 20 ― The movement control order (MCO) coupled with stringent standard operating procedures (SOP) enforced by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 has also contributed to the reduction of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) by 55 per cent in Sibu this year.

According to Sibu Divisional Health Officer Dr Teh Jo Hun, until August 9, 568 cases were recorded against 1,260 cases during the same period last year.

“The MCO and strict SOP have also helped to reduce HFMD because of physical distancing, wearing of face masks and hand hygiene, because HFMD is also droplet borne and transmitted from vesicles on hands and feet,” he said.

In this regard, the practice of hand hygiene and mask wearing should be a new norm to reduce not only Covid-19 but also other droplet borne diseases, Dr Teh stressed.

“Be observant to the symptoms of HFMD such as fever, rash or blisters on the palms and feet as well as ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue and seek immediate medical treatment at nearest clinics,” he advised parents.

He also noted that indoor playgrounds are still closed during this restriction period

If they open, are a potential source of HFMD, unless good hygiene procedures or SOP are practised, he said.

“Many cases of HFMD are transmitted by adults who are asymptomatic carriers or carried on from items such as clothing.

“Frequent hand washing and sanitisation will help to protect children,” Dr Teh reminded.

The federal government had implemented the MCO on March 18 that required all non-essential activities and businesses to cease, followed by the conditional MCO in May and the current recovery MCO, which started on June 10 and is expected to end on August 31.

Businesses began to resume under the conditional MCO and more activities are now allowed, followin strict standard operating procedures.

In June, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah revealed that the state’s 2,865 registered pre-schools and kindergartens which were reopening on July 1 must strictly adhere to SOPs set by the government.

She had said the SOP included precautionary measures that must be taken prior the reopening of the pre-schools and kindergartens; during and after classes upon reopening to ensure a Covid-19 safe environment for children, teacher and parents. ― Borneo Post

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