By: Prof. Dr. Azmawani Abd Rahman
SERDANG - Since the start of the Movement Control Order on 18 March 2020 across the country to prevent the COVID-19 outbreak from spreading, the Emergency Response Team at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) (ERT-UPM COVID-19) has played a crucial role in ensuring UPM’s continuity of services and preparedness in handling the issue quickly and effectively. The team is led by the Incident Commander, UPM Vice-Chancellor, Prof Datin Paduka Setia Dato’ Dr. Aini Ideris.
At UPM, all activities and issues related to COVID-19 are coordinated in the UPM COVID-19 Operations Room located at the OSH Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Management Office (PPKKP), UPM. The activities in the operations room are led by Director of Occupational Safety and Health Management Office, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rafee Baharudin. All coordination of information, issues, and problems arising from all UPM entities are implemented quickly and effectively in this COVID-19 Operations Room.
This operations room monitors and updates main activities to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Information regarding the level of risk within UPM community members is identified and analysed daily. Those at high risk including the ones at Bintulu Campus are contacted immediately for further information. A control measure plan has also been developed to ensure directives issued to UPM community members are clear and informative. Besides that, the operation rooms also manages data related to the number of students residing at colleges, the number going in and out of campus grounds, number of staff and students related to COVID-19 cases, free food distribution schedule for the students and contribution list.
These vital statistics are updated every two hours and important data is forwarded to the Ministry of Higher Education twice daily. This collaboration includes the University Health Centre, University Security Division, Student Affairs Division and Corporate Strategy and Communications Office.
The Emergency Response Team Committee Meeting chaired by UPM Vice-Chancellor as the Incident Commander is held daily through video conference at the UPM COVID-19 Operations Room. This meeting coordinates daily information, makes decisions on issues requiring immediate attention, and plans the university initiatives in ensuring the implementation and management of the COVID-19 crisis is done effectively, quickly and efficiently.
The General Risk Assessment Form for COVID-19 Infection distributed to the campus community is analysed daily to examine and monitor the level of risk among UPM community according to their contact history with individuals who are COVID-19 positive. This analysis is also presented daily at the Emergency Response Team Committee Meeting to ensure coordination of information and coordination of actions to be taken on those at high risk.
Besides, the UPM COVID-19 Operations Room also acts to ensure the safety and cleanliness of food served at the gazetted colleges are always at a high level. Suppliers appointed for student food distribution, including international students, are given health and safety briefings by the staff at the UPM COVID-19 Operations Room. Staff on duty also coordinates disinfection activities at places or locations identified as contaminated with COVID-19. The UPM COVID-19 Operations Room serves as a liaison to agencies and entities related to the safety and health of employees. Among other activities conducted are meetings with Public Health Experts at the Department of Community Health and Experts at the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UPM.
The UPM Emergency Response Team (ERT-UPM COVID-19) not only focuses on continuity of services but also plays a key role in assisting the National Security Council (NSC) indirectly during the Movement Control Order to break the chain of the COVID-19 infection at the campus level.
The management of this outbreak could not be handled individually without involving relevant experts and entities within the University. Coordinated cooperation is required to achieve the goal of having effective outbreak preventive measures. - UPM
Date of Input: 02/04/2020 | Updated: 03/04/2020 | hairul_nizam
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