Covid-19: Seven criteria to be met before transition to endemic phase, says Hisham

KUALA LUMPUR: The country can enter the endemic phase or reopen safely towards living with Covid-19 by fulfilling seven criteria, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said this consisted of having one standard operating procedure (SOP) with nine guidelines; a Heightened Alert System (HAS); National Testing Strategy; and TRIIS (Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, Seek).

It also entails having an automated “Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, Support” (FTTIS) system, the gradual reopening of national borders, as well as community empowerment ambassadors.

"However, all this depends on the Covid-19 pandemic management special committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, which will be held this week or next week," he said in a press conference at Parliament here Tuesday (Nov 16).

He added that the transition to the endemic phase would be done simultaneously across the country, based on international criteria, including those set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Hishammuddin said this was among the matters decided during the Covid-19 quartet ministerial meeting today to ensure that all plans to head towards the endemic stage ran smoothly, was understood by all parties, and did not affect efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

He said the transition to the endemic phase was the government's next step as all the states except Sarawak and Kelantan were already in Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

Apart from that, Hishammuddin said the government had also carefully and gradually managed the relaxation of rules including the reopening of the industrial sector, allowing inter-state movement, the reopening of schools and institutes of higher learning, as well as the implementation of the tourism bubble.

Meanwhile, he said the gradual reopening of the country's borders was also one of the important aspects in the transition to the endemic phase.

He said it covered tourism under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry; entry of foreign workers under the Ministry of Human Resources; business travel under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry; and vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) for air travel under the Transport Ministry and Foreign Ministry.

The VTL for air travel allows individuals who have been fully-vaccinated to travel to selected countries without having to undergo quarantine. - Bernama
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Hishammuddin Hussein , endemic , VTL , WHO , SOP , NRP


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