‘Endemic phase delayed for safety’

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. -filepic

KOTA KINABALU: The decision to delay the declaration of the endemic phase for Covid-19 under the National Recovery Plan may be unpopular but it is necessary due to the Omicron variant, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said he agreed with the decision to hold back on declaring the endemic phase as it is important for the overall safety and health of the public.

Hishammuddin said that Malaysia was not “late” in implementing the endemic phase even though all states in the country are now under Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan.

“We are observing the situation in certain countries that is worrying. The United States saw a million new Covid-19 cases two weeks ago, and over 500,000 daily cases presently.

“In Australia, despite being in a state of lockdown, 60,000 new Covid-19 cases a day were recorded,” he told reporters during a working visit to the Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force in Tawau yesterday.

He said that a large number of Omicron cases would put pressure on hospitals in Malaysia.

Reiterating that there will be no more major lockdowns in the country, Hishammuddin said the borders should be reopened slowly and gradually.

“It should not be opened immediately,” he said, adding that that standard operating procedure on the endemic phase will be announced soon.

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