Friday, January 21

‘Easing into Phase 4 of NRP amidst Omicron warnings a contradictory move’

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Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING (Jan 8): The easing into Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) amidst warnings about the Delta Omicron variant of Covid-19 could be regarded as ‘a contradictory move’ for Sarawak, said social activist Voon Shiak Ni.

She observed that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had been issuing warnings about the ongoing threats posed the highly-infectious variant, where countries like the UK, France and Australia having been adversely affected in that they had been recording tens of thousands of infections daily.

“He (Khairy) also warned that Malaysia could record 30,000 Covid-19 cases daily by the end of March should the rate of infection rise to 1.6. Thus, steps must be taken to prevent this dreadful scenario,” said Voon in a statement yesterday.

She also viewed these warnings as ‘an SOS’ from the Health Ministry to all Malaysians, calling them to ‘brace for a pending disaster’.

“For example, Australia – it reported a shocking number of 47,816 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, as the highly-infectious Omicron ripped through the population.

“Considering such a circumstance, the feedback from the public indicated that they did not understand why Sarawak would be easing into Phase 4 of NRP,” she pointed out.

Adding on, Voon said Deputy Chief Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian who is also the Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government, had also sent ‘the same SOS to Sarawakians’.

She expressed concern about the consequence of the surge in daily Covid-19 cases, which would put a massive strain on the healthcare systems, cautioning all that this could occur in Sarawak if the preventive measures to reduce exposure to the virus were not being taken.

“I’m not talking about lockdown here, but easing into Phase 4 and extending business hours late into the night for people to gather and mingle are measures contradictory to the ‘SOS’ sent to the public regarding the possibilities of a surge in transmissions and also the onslaught of the ‘Fifth Wave’ of the pandemic, as seen in other countries right now,” she stressed.