As the third wave of COVID-19 swept through, Malaysia again imposed a nationwide lockdown in May this year. Between July and August, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped from 1,000 to 10,000, kept setting new records. The death toll has skyrocketed, and almost everyone knows someone who has been diagnosed.
In early July, I attended an informal meeting convened by Dr. Lin Qing Xiang of the Hospital Ministry Resources to share the situation of our response to the pandemic. At that time, Dr Lin proposed a scheme to break the chain of infection by setting up community safe houses. Soon after this meeting, we were no longer hearing confirmed cases of someone friends, but directly from our friends and family.
Not long after that, I received news of outbreaks of infection in drug rehabilitation centres, nursing homes and seminaries. As the quarantine centres were full, fellow workers were also asked by friends whether there was a safe place to quarantine.
Seeing the severeness of pandemic and in order to prevent and fight the pandemic, 7979 co-workers promoted a disaster plan: “7979 Love. Quarantine” after much inquiries and preparations. The church will use vacant church’s building or members' properties to set up community safe quarantine houses to host close contacts whose home environment do not allow safe quarantine, so as to break the chain of infection in families and communities and reduce the burden on the medical system. The service includes providing three meals, counselling, soul care and other services.
This is a relatively high-risk program because close contacts that hosted may have been infected. However, it is better to test positive in a safe quarantine house than to confirm the diagnosis at home. Especially for the B40 group of low-income households, the home space is often insufficient; or there are high-risk groups in the home, which may lead to the simultaneous infection of many people in the home because of the inability to take preventive measures. Quarantine will cause a loss of income, which will greatly affect people's lives. In addition, the cost of testing and other expenses will only increase people's mental stress.
Safety first, full SOP
The church converted Sunday School classrooms into safe quarantine rooms
After the sharing of many plans, we are grateful to Malaysian Family Keepers for providing soul supporting and caring services, as well as various churches for setting up community safe quarantine houses. As of October, a total of 18 churches have set up 21 community safe quarantine houses, with 43 rooms in service, serving more than 58 people, in Alor Setar, Bukit Mertajam, Seberang Perai, Ipoh, Klang Valley, Malacca, Yong Peng, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. This figure may not be worth mentioning, but what can’t be seen is it is connected to the precious life of each family, which is priceless.
What is more valuable is the willingness of the church and volunteers in giving. In their respective communities, they were willing to host people in need, in addition to arranging the living environment, providing daily meals and daily necessities, making regular phone calls to give soul care, etc… they also have to clean and disinfect the entire facility when they checked out. We are especially grateful to those who offer their vacant property for churches to use as quarantine houses immediately after they heard about our project. At the same time, doctors, individuals who are in disinfection business, counsellors, volunteers from charity organizations, etc., stood out to offered their services. A warm-hearted brother donated 43 unit of oxygen concentrators of 5L and accessories, 600 unit of pulse oximeter, 10,000 pieces of masks and 1,000 pieces of PPE, most of which were sent to Sabah, where the medical system was relatively poor, in order to support the local church. At present, oxygen concentrators had distributed to Kota Kinabalu Sabah, Sandakan, Seremban, Kuantan, Bukit Mertajam, Kedah and Kuala Lumpur.
“We love because God first loved us.” Neither trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, danger nor sword, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.