KJ: Malaysia to enter endemic phase by end October

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia can start preparing its move into an endemic Covid-19 phase by the end of October, with more people being fully vaccinated.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the people must begin to accept that Covid-19 was here to stay and that it was time to “live with the virus”.

Sectors that had to be closed due to Covid-19 containment efforts will eventually have to be reopened even though the virus is still present.

“In the next two months, 80% of the population will be vaccinated. In the case of Labuan and to a lesser extent, Sarawak, they are already in an endemic phase.

“So I can say by the end of October, we will reach a phase where we will start living with the virus.

“Right now, there are some states that are still in mitigation and containment mode. But by the end of October, we will be starting to live with the virus,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Khairy said being in an endemic phase would see more sectors reopened with new Covid-19 norms being practised.

The ministry, he said, would continue to make mask-wearing mandatory for the foreseeable future.

“We have seen how some countries had to make mask-wearing compulsory again following the emergence of more contagious variants. So we will retain the mask-mandate,” he said.

As part of moving into the endemic phase, he said Malaysia would introduce a national testing strategy in which the public would undergo Covid-19 tests on a regular basis.

“Once we enter the endemic phase, whether you have been vaccinated or not, you need to test yourself quite regularly.

“For this, we intend to make testing more affordable and more accessible,” he said.

Khairy said that Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi would be announcing a ceiling price for self-test kits soon which had been agreed by the Cabinet.

At present, there are 11 brands of Covid-19 self-test kits that have been approved by the ministry for public use.

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