Decision on endemic stage soon

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s transition from the Covid-19 pandemic to the endemic stage may be announced in the next two to three weeks, says Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic).

The Senior Minister said the government was waiting for reports on the effects of the Omicron variant, as well as the recent floods and Malaysians returning to the country, especially those who had gone on their umrah (pilgrimage).

“A quartet ministers meeting will be held next week. We will be briefed by the Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry and other parties before we present these findings to the Covid-19 Special Task Force, which the Prime Minister chairs,

“We have determined seven criteria that need to be met before the country can enter the endemic phase.

They are the standard operating procedures, the Heightened Alert System; the Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, Seek; the Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, Support system; the gradual reopening of national borders and community empowerment ambassadors.

“The three factors mentioned earlier are what’s making us slightly cautious about announcing the transition.

“We are ready to announce the transition, but at the end of the day, it’s not for me to announce but for the Prime Minister, after the Covid-19 Special Task Force agrees to it,” he told reporters at Wisma Perwira here yesterday.

Hishammuddin, who is also the Defence Minister, said what was important was that the transition would be made in an orderly manner.

On the possibility of Johor having a state election, he said the views of the Health Ministry would have to be taken into account.

“Johoreans may ask what would be the difference between a state election there and the ones held in Melaka and Sarawak (late last year).

“Whatever it is, let us wait for a decision on whether a state election is called,” he said, adding that there was no need to spread fear and it was important that the Johor state election, if one is called, was run properly.

“We will use the Sarawak and Melaka state elections as points of reference.”

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