Covid-19: Malaysia to prepare to reopen the country cautiously as outbreak transitions to endemic phase, says KJ

PUTRAJAYA: As Malaysia prepares to transition from the Covid-19 pandemic to an endemic phase, the Health Ministry wants to ensure the reopening of sectors is done in a careful manner.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in the next two months, Malaysians will be adjusting themselves towards the “living with the virus” mindset that the government is advocating.

“The Health Ministry is committed to opening up responsibly and in a safe manner. Once we reach the endemic phase, more sectors will open up completely.

“We are targeting by the end of October. The Cabinet will decide at that time when the endpoint will be,” said Khairy, at a media interview on his ministry’s plans for the next 100 days.

The task ahead is to condition the minds of the Malaysian public on how to enjoy the things that they used to while understanding the risks.

Mandatory wearing of masks will still be in place, as are other vital Covid-19 standard operating procedures such as physical distancing.

“We are two months away. We will put in place Covid-19 SOPs that are easier to understand.

“The Prime Minister and I have started talking about the endemic phase. And you start to see Malaysians on social media saying they are 'okay' with it and that they understand.

“But this is not a 'free-for-all', don’t get me wrong.

“We still have to wear masks, we still have to observe physical distancing in crowded places.

“But most activities that we enjoyed in the past will be allowed to resume.

“It’s just that, we need to know the risks and we need to prepare.

“Hopefully with vaccinations and cases going down, we can commence our normal,” said Khairy.

The country is targeting to reach the benchmark of 80% fully vaccinated adults by the end of October.

The resumption of concerts and indoor events are also on the cards, but the ministry will still exercise caution, he said.

“Concerts, indoor entertainment events... these are sectors that we will still consider high risk, even though we are in an endemic phase.

“We have to be careful how to start opening up these sectors, and there are factors such as ventilation of venues to consider first,” said Khairy.

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