‘Speed up vaccination, increase testing before entering Phase Two’

Hussein: Phase Two will not make much difference to eateries, as dine-in is still prohibited.

JOHOR government has been urged to ramp up its vaccination efforts before moving to Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

A Johorean, Ariff Mohammad Nizam, 29, said speeding up vaccination and conducting mass Covid-19 testing should be the main focus now.

“With the current number of Covid-19 cases in the state, it is likely to slip back to Phase One.

“The state government should instead focus on ramping up the vaccination process, which has also been highlighted by the Johor royal family several times.

“It should also start mass testing, especially at red zones and industrial areas,” said the corporate communication executive.

Ariff Mohammad added that the state should also ensure that the Health Department was prepared, including in terms of facilities, to face the risk of Covid-19 cases increasing once Johor moves to Phase Two of the NRP.

Online business owner Lee Wee Ping, 37, said that while he looked forward to the standard operating procedure (SOP) being relaxed, it was still too early for Johor to transition into Phase Two.

“I hope for the SOP to be relaxed as I know many people are suffering due to the restrictions.

“My business has been badly affected since the implementation of the NRP Phase One in June.

“However, after looking at the number of cases over the past few days, I think we should wait a while more before moving into the next phase,” he said.

Lee also hopes that the government would use more mobile vaccine dispensing centres (PPV) to speed up the process of vaccination in Johor.

Johor Indian Muslim Entrepre-neur Association (Perusim) secretary Hussein Ibrahim said moving into Phase Two would not make much difference to most businesses here, especially eateries.

“Restaurants will still not be allowed to have dine-in customers.

“Non-essential businesses that are allowed to operate may not see many customers either as they may be afraid to go out when the daily number of Covid-19 cases remains high.

“For me, it is better for Johor to move into Phase Two only when the number of cases remains low for at least a week,” he said, adding that ramping up vaccination should be the main priority.

On July 7, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the state was expected to move into Phase Two of the NRP this week as it had met several criteria set by the Federal Government.

Other states that have moved to Phase Two are Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Penang.

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