The newly appointed Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that COVID-19 will become an endemic in Malaysia soon. This is even though the country may be able to eventually control the rate of infection, hospitalisation, and death caused by the virus.
According to the minister, the transition to the endemic stage will allow various sectors in the country to be operational once again while people can resume their daily life as per usual albeit in a new norm. He has also revealed that the government will be taking several steps to simplify existing SOPs which will lead to a clearer and easier to understand SOP list although face masks will continue to be mandatory.
As for the point of transition, it could take place by the end of October which is at the same time that 80% of the country’s population are expected to be fully vaccinated as well.
Meanwhile, Minister Khairy also pointed out that one needs to be tested regularly once the country has entered the endemic stage. This is regardless of whether the individual has been vaccinated or otherwise.
For this very reason, the government intends to make testing more affordable and accessible according to the minister. He also revealed that a new ceiling price for COVID-19 rapid test kits has been set by the Cabinet and will be announced by the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Alexander Nanta Linggi very soon.
MoH is currently working on a national testing policy that will also be taking into account those who have deliberately refused to be vaccinated without a valid reason. This group of non-vaccinated individuals will have to adhere to certain testing schedules and regimes.
“I have not come to the stage where I will recommend (vaccination) to the Cabinet a federal mandate but I’m not far from it either,“ said the minister. On another hand, an upcoming update to MySejatera will include an identification feature to cater for individuals that are not able to receive the vaccine due to medical reasons.