KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 ― While those who are fully-vaccinated against Covid-19 are now allowed to dine in at restaurants and stay at hotels as tourists in states under Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan, workers at these outlets should also have received at least their first dose of vaccination, Pakatan Harapan (PH) said today.
In a statement released by the Opposition coalition PH’s presidential council today, it gave suggestions to the Malaysian government on further measures that could be taken to counter Covid-19 risks amid relaxed rules for fully vaccinated persons.
They pointed out that those who had received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine were still at risk of being carriers of the virus, adding that the possibility of a new wave of Covid-19 cases happening in Phase 2 cannot be discounted. The PH leaders then went on to list the steps that the Malaysian government could take, including providing financial incentives to encourage workplaces to improve their ventilation system.
“Since the Covid-19 virus can spread through droplets or aerosols, we are of the view that the ventilation SOP at workplaces including hotels and restaurants must be updated and enforced more firmly.
“Incentives such as grants, wage subsidies, utilities and rent and tax rebates have to be given to those companies to improve or procure equipment such as high efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA filter).
“The government should also help premises including hotels, homestay, and restaurants that will receive customers that have already received two doses of vaccine also have to ensure all their employees have received at least the first dose of vaccine,” the statement said.
The statement was issued jointly by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
The PH presidential council also stressed that the number of first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine administered must be ramped up immediately before August 31, especially in Sabah, which PH said had the lowest percentage of first dose shots in the country and was among states with a high risk for Covid-19 infections.
They provided a table showing the percentage of population who had received their first dose shots in the six Phase 2 states as of August 11, namely Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Sabah.
From the table which the PH said was as of August 11, Penang had the highest of such figures with 50.4 per cent of its population having received the first dose, followed by 37 per cent (Perak and Pahang), 32.8 per cent (Terengganu), 30 per cent (Kelantan) and with the lowest percentage of being Sabah at 29.6 per cent.
Also shown in the table were the new Covid-19 cases today in these six Phase 2 states, with Sabah having the highest number at 1,514 new cases today, followed by Penang (1,385), Kelantan (1,284), Perak (828), Terengganu (613), and Pahang (585).
Apart from such suggestions, the PH presidential council also said the views by public health experts should also be taken seriously, including increasing allocations to treat Covid-19, specifically to increase the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, oxygen concentrator,
carrying out the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended “Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support plus vaccination” (FTTIS+V) approach in Phase 2 states as measures to prepare for any new Covid-19 wave.
Yesterday, the government’s benefits for fully-vaccinated individuals started taking effect, with such individuals allowed to dine in and enjoy tourism in the form of hotel stays or homestays within the same state in Phase 2 and Phase 3 states.
News reports however showed that many restaurants in Phase 2 states such as Penang and Kelantan were hesitant to allow dine in for fully vaccinated customers currently, and were willing to wait until their staff were fully vaccinated first.