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Only 6% of Covid-19 cases linked to factories, say manufacturers

FMM In The News: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, PETALING JAYA, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - The manufacturing industry should not be blamed for the increase in Covid-19 infections as only 6% of the total number of cases can be attributed to factories, says the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

The daily number of Covid-19 cases passed the 9,000 mark three times over the past seven days, with yesterday’s tally of 11,079 new infections the highest the country has recorded since the start of the pandemic.

In a statement, FMM president Soh Thian Lai said the body is “deeply concerned” by various allegations that factories are a primary source of Covid-19 infections, stating that based on health ministry data from July 1-9, manufacturing contributed a maximum of 7.3% of the overall daily cases.

“Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was recently quoted during an engagement (session) with the business community on July 4 as saying that of the total cases, close to 70% were sporadic cases while 30% came from clusters, of which 62% are workplace clusters.

Soh Thian Lai.

“Factories only account for 30% of these workplace clusters. This works out to be around only 6% of the total number of cases that can be attributed to factories.

“It is very clear that cases linked to clusters, especially manufacturing clusters, are low,” he said.

Soh said it must be acknowledged that the risk of factory infections cannot be totally eliminated, especially now with the high percentage of sporadic cases and Covid-19 having spread in the community.

However, he stressed that this “most certainly” could not be equated to the lack of SOP compliance by factories.

Soh also noted that the lockdown in Selangor and parts of Kuala Lumpur was implemented to address the worryingly fast rise in sporadic cases in the Klang Valley, as opposed to the surge in workplace clusters as claimed by certain quarters.

Soh warned that businesses cannot be sustained if factory operations are closed or reduced in capacity as it will have knock-on effects on the economy, with significant loss of jobs, due to the extensive supply chains and networks involved in manufacturing.

“If industries remain closed for too long, it could cause economic stagnation and irreparable damage to the economy, including a possible exodus of foreign investors and reduction in domestic investments,” he said.

“The importance of the manufacturing sector to Malaysia’s economy must be appreciated by all. If all factories are forced to shut, the impact would be most devastating on the economy.”

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