Blanket closure of schools is a 'backward move', says Khairy

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters involving boarding schools, the Health Ministry will not be imposing a blanket closure as the cases are not severe.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also said that to implement widespread closures on boarding schools due to a manageable number of clusters would be a "backward move".

"We have vaccinated 90% of our teenagers to date. Covid-19 infections are going to happen, this is something that we cannot avoid.

"Today, only countries like China still try to impose a zero-Covid policy.

"Majority of the cases at the boarding schools are either mild or asymptomatic infections, and the positive ones can be isolated.

"So I see that there is no need to impose a blanket ruling and close all boarding schools. I think that is a backward move.

"We take mitigation actions where there are new clusters, but do we stop children from going to schools? No.

"We want schools to be opened and want our children to attend class.

"We must progress forward and believe in the efficiency of vaccines and our preventive measures," said Khairy at a press conference in Parliament on Thursday (Jan 20).

Khairy said from the first epidemiology week of 2022 up to Jan 19, a total of 52 Covid-19 clusters involving the education sector had emerged.

Some 30 clusters (57.7%) involve secondary schools, of which 27 of them are boarding schools.

Of the 52 education sector clusters, 44 of their index cases originated from students.

The rest of the clusters were traced to index cases who are teachers, students or supporting staff.

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