SERDANG, Aug 6 ― The government has agreed to convert about 100 tourist vans into ambulances to help tackle emergency cases of Covid-19 especially in the Klang Valley, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the move was planned under the Greater Klang Valley Special Task Force following the current Covid-19 situation in the country, apart from complaints of ambulance delays in picking up patients requiring immediate treatment from home.

Elaborating, Ismail Sabri said the initiative was also to assist tourist van operators who were affected by the current movement control which prohibits cross-state movements, thus affecting the tourism industry.

“We will convert regular vans into ambulances and we will discuss with Motac (Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry) because we know these tourist vans are not in use for the time being,” he said to reporters after visiting the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS) Integrated Quarantine and Treatment Centre (PKRC) 2.0 here today. 

Also present during the working visit were Army chief Gen Tan Sri Zamrose Mohd Zain and Chief of Defence Force Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang.

Asked about the payments to the tourist van operators involved, Ismail Sabri said the terms and conditions would be discussed with the Health Ministry and Motac soon.

In a related development, Ismail Sabri, who is also the Defence Minister, said a total of 1,000 Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) personnel would be mobilised to assist in matters related to logistics at MAEPS PKRC 2.0.

He explained that ATM personnel were also mobilised to assist health workers in hospitals around the Klang Valley such as the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Ampang Hospital, Selayang Hospital, Kajang Hospital and Serdang Hospital.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri declined to respond to political matters, saying that the most important thing for him now was to ensure people’s lives and problems are given due attention in his tasks.

“We have to focus on the current issue, the Covid-19 cases which surpass the 20,000 mark is shocking and we have to intensify our efforts so that the number of cases can be reduced, same goes to economic issues,” he said.

Earlier, Ismail Sabri said among other issues brought up during the briefing session was on additional beds at hospitals, oxygen supply and logistics. ― Bernama