The government’s recent move in updating the SOP for Covid-19 is practical as it was made after taking into account the current decreasing trend in the number of cases.
A lecturer and family medicine specialist at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), Dr Radzniwan Abd Rashid regarded the move by the government as apt following the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that Covid-19 was no longer categorised as a global health emergency.
“The government’s action to relax the SOP is timely and dynamic, taking into account the current situation of Covid-19 cases. With this announcement, I am sure there is relief among Malaysians because a clear SOP has been announced,” he told Bernama.
He said the action by the health ministry was evidence-based and not due to pressure from any quarters.
Yesterday, health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, in a statement, said that the isolation period for confirmed Covid-19 cases has been shortened from seven days to five effective July 5.
She said this was because research showed that Covid-19 infectivity was at its highest in the first five days.
She also said that while it was compulsory before for Covid-19 patients to mask up when using public transport and in health facilities, they were now only advised to do so but it was not mandatory.
However, Zaliha said that high-risk individuals like senior citizens, those with chronic diseases, individuals with low immunity or pregnant women are strongly encouraged to wear face masks, especially in crowded places and areas with poor ventilation.
She added that individuals with respiratory symptoms are also encouraged to mask up while using public transport, such as on buses, flights, and taxis, including e-hailing services, as well as factory and school buses or vans, in order to prevent infection to others.
Regarding the government’s decision to extend the status of local infection areas in Malaysia by another six months until Dec 31, 2023, Radzniwan said the move would allow the government to continue monitoring the trend of the spread of Covid-19.
“However, if there is a sudden surge in the number of cases admitted to hospital and ICU, as well as deaths, the government should re-evaluate the SOP,” he said.
Meanwhile, a public health physician and lecturer at Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) faculty of medicine and health sciences, Dr Malina Osman said the measures taken by the government were in line with the current Covid-19 situation.
She said with the 53.5% decline in the number of cases (5,801 to 2,698) and 35.3% drop in the number of deaths (17 to 11) in the past five weeks, it showed that the situation was within a controlled range and there was no threat of an epidemic.
“The government’s decision, made through the health ministry, is based on scientific evidence and the current situation in Malaysia after making a risk assessment,” she said. – Bernama