Monday, August 8

As country transitions to endemic phase, Malaysians must be socially responsible, say experts

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Members of the public are seen wearing face masks in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 10, 2022. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR (March 9): A health expert is of the opinion that Malaysians seem ready to enter the ‘Transition to Endemic’ Phase after being exposed to extensive information related to Covid-19 since the outbreak hit the country almost two years ago.

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) public health expert (epidemiology and biostatistics) Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman said the total of completed vaccinations, booster shots and children’s vaccinations currently being implemented by the Health Ministry (MoH) was capable of controlling the outbreak, enabling the ‘Transition to Endemic’ Phase to begin on April 1.

“I believe the government has empowered Malaysians with knowledge about Covid-19 and they should have the awareness and can make the best decisions in protecting themselves against infection.

“The should take care of themselves as information has been given by the MoH since the outbreak hit the country,” she said when contacted by Bernama yesterday.

She also advised Malaysians to continue complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) although they have been eased by the government.

“We should know that there are a small minority who can’t be vaccinated due to health factors and this is the group we need to protect when the country moves to the ‘Transition to Endemic’ Phase.

“They are the at-risk groups, and have serious complications with the possibility of death. Because the effects of Covid-19 is very severe among them, it is vital for Malaysians to be concerned of their own health and to practise a healthy lifestyle,” Dr Malina said.

Occupational health, emergency and public health expert Dr Hanafiah Bashirun meanwhile said the MoH was prepared to deal with the latest shift in phase.

“We do not have to worry as the ministry has several detailed plans regarding the ‘Transition to Endemic’ Phase compared to when the outbreak began in the country.

“In the past we did not have treatments, were unprepared, lacked ventilators and did not have proper prevention methods, but after two years, many studies have been done and we now understand how to treat if faced with Covid-19 related situations.

“Although there are cases requiring intensive care treatment due to the new Omicron variant, we now have a more organised action plan and we can control it,” he said.

Dr Hanafiah also advised those in the tourism sector to be mindful and comply with stricter SOPs in line of the reopening of borders on April 1.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had earlier announced that the country would be entering the ‘Transition to Endemic’ Phase from April 1 as the country transitions to returning to an almost normal lifestyle after two years fighting Covid-19. — Bernama