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Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks at a press conference in Putrajaya, September 1, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks at a press conference in Putrajaya, September 1, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Steps are being taken by the government to prepare a set of new standard operating procedures (SOP) to guide the public on living with Covid-19 as the virus becomes endemic, newly installed Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

Khairy, in his first official press conference, said discussions are being done to draft these fresh and less complicated SOPs, which would make it easier for the public to understand and practise.

He said this was in line with the shift in the government’s perception towards Covid-19 from being a pandemic to becoming endemic.

“There is an effort for us to accept that Covid-19 is endemic, meaning we have to accept reality that no matter how much we succeed in controlling the pandemic from the aspect of deaths and hospitalisation rates, we should be prepared to accept the reality that it will be endemic and we will have to live with this virus.

“This is consistent with the approach that has been taken by several other developed countries, where they have moved from pandemic measures like total containment to accepting it as an endemic.

“This is the new norm that will be introduced for us to ensure that we can live and remain safe even though the virus is among us,” said during the press conference at the Health Ministry in Putrajaya today.

Khairy then stressed how transitioning towards treating Covid-19 as endemic is an approach that has to be adopted by the whole of society in maintaining the SOPs.

He added that Malaysia will maintain regulations compelling the use of face masks in public areas, and how the government would unlikely ease this regulation anytime soon.

Additionally, when asked for a timeline, Khairy said the ministry will wait until October for nationwide herd immunity to be achieved before deciding on the transition.

“We want to wait until the end of October where about 80 per cent of the population should be vaccinated and we will reach that endemic cut-off point where we have to start living with the virus,” he said.

Malaysia has been in a state of pandemic since March 2020 when the first nationwide lockdown was enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19.

To date, a total of 1,765,016 confirmed Covid-19 cases have been reported, along with 1,482,800 recoveries, and 16,942 fatalities.

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