Coronavirus: KL City Hall places homeless people in shelters amid virus outbreak

Kuala Lumpur Mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad visiting a shelter at Dahlan Sentul Perdana community centre on April 2, 2020. PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia has placed over 500 homeless people living on various streets of Kuala Lumput in shelters during the ongoing movement restrictions.

The process involved some 100 Kuala Lumpur City Hall staff members with help from the police, Kuala Lumpur Welfare Department and Malaysian Red Crescent, who gathered them and their families from the streets.

Malaysia's partial lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, called movement control order (MCO), is into its 16th day on Thursday (April 2).

The MCO will continue until its last day on April 14 for a total of 28 days.

KL Mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan on Wednesday (April 1) said the effort to gather them began at 11pm on March 26 until 5am the next day, and this move will continue.

"We identified 14 hot spots to find these people, many of whom were seen at Masjid Negara, Kotaraya and Central Market areas," he said, referring to places in KL where crowds often gather.

Other areas identified included public places around Menara Maybank, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Masjid India and several wet markets in the city.

Pictures inside one hall showed a group of men lying down or sitting on mattresses placed at least a metre apart.

The homeless community, which also includes foreigners, are those who were abandoned by their families, people who are sick, poor, those suffering from mental illness, drug addicts, alcoholics and former prisoners.

They have been placed in shelters at Sentul Perdana community centre (181 people), Tasik Ampang Hilir community hall (62), Setiawangsa community hall (95), Alam Damai multi-purpose hall in Cheras (30), homeless transit centre in Jalan Pahang (99) and Anjung Singgah Jalan Jang Lekiu (142).

Datuk Nor Hisham said the individuals who were gathered were put in separate places than those in family units. They are provided with essentials, mattresses and blankets.

They are also being provided with three meals a day.

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