MMA: SOP the way to go in an endemicity

PETALING JAYA: Strictly adhering to the standard operating procedure is the best way to keep Covid-19 at bay as the country transitions to the endemic phase, says the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

Its president Dr Koh Kar Chai said that although lockdowns were necessary at times to stop a massive wave of infections, such measures can also negatively affect the economy and cause mental health problems among the people.

“Being cooped up at home is never a solution. Following the prescribed SOP is the way to go. Being aware of your surroundings as well as your own conduct whether at home, in the workplace or in public, will go a long way in managing the endemic phase,” he said when contacted yesterday.

On Tuesday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said next week would see Malaysia fighting Covid-19 on the new battlefield of endemicity, with new strategies in place.

As more restrictions are lifted and interstate and overseas travel resumes, he said the onus is on the people to play their role to keep everyone safe from Covid-19.

Dr Koh said during a pandemic, there is always the hope that if handled properly, it will end after a while when there is no longer any transmission and no further deaths from the disease.

“In an endemic situation, it means that the virus has already positioned itself within the population,” he said.

“Measures to live with it will need to be formulated to avoid further casualties.”

To a question, he said people and businesses will need to have some strategies or arrangements in place to live with the virus.

Regular self-testing, especially when you have symptoms, is preferred, he added.

“The government has already made plans to reduce the cost of saliva rapid test kits even further, so it won’t be a burden to self-test regularly,” he said.

He added that the government should conduct regular awareness programmes to constantly remind the public to be mindful of the presence of the virus among us.

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye concurred, saying the Communications and Multimedia Ministry should collaborate with other agencies to disseminate public service announcements on how to use the test kit properly.

He added that the test kit manual should also be published in several languages to help people, especially the elderly, understand how to use it.

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