KUCHING: Malaysians need to learn to live with Covid-19 "intelligently" as the disease is expected to become endemic, says Tan Sri James Masing.
The Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister said this meant strict standard operating procedures must still be adhered to while the economy gradually reopens when most of the population is vaccinated.
He agreed with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that Covid-19 is slowly becoming endemic rather than remaining a pandemic, especially in Sarawak where the vaccination rate is high.
"The 80% herd immunity which Sarawak hopes to achieve by September will render vaccinated people relatively protected from the deadly impact of this virus. Thus, the evolution of Covid-19 from pandemic to endemic requires, in Khairy's mind, new approaches to restore normalcy to Malaysian life.
"Sections of the economy can be opened bit by bit and government offices need to function as usual, once the staff are fully vaccinated," Masing said in a statement on Saturday (Sept 4).
He added, however, that parties and large gatherings should still be disallowed as Covid-19 was here to stay for a while.
"Khairy, it seems, understands that the containment of the disease can't be worse than the disease itself.
"I am confident that with the support of his Cabinet colleagues and the people of Malaysia, Khairy and the Health Ministry will overcome Covid-19," Masing said.
Khairy said on Wednesday (Sept 1) that Malaysia was expected to move into the endemic phase by October with 80% of the population vaccinated by then.
He said more sectors would then be reopened with new Covid-19 norms in place, including the wearing of face masks.