Malaysia may introduce regular COVID-19 testing under endemic scenario: Health minister Khairy
The minister also said that COVID-19 can likely become endemic in the country by the end of October.
PUTRAJAYA: Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that he was mulling over a national testing policy that requires people to test themselves for COVID-19 when Malaysia enters the endemic phase.
“Once we go into the endemic (phase), whether you have been vaccinated or not, you need to test yourself quite regularly,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday (Sep 1).
“That’s why we want to make testing more affordable and more accessible,” he added.
The minister said the policy is one of the options if the government does not make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory by law.
Those who refuse to be vaccinated would have to adhere to a certain schedule and regime of testing, which includes antigen rapid test and polymerase chain reaction test.
“We will come out with a national testing policy to hopefully take into account those who refuse to be vaccinated.
“But my preferred outcome is that if you have got no medical reason, any reason not to be vaccinated, go and get vaccinated,” said Mr Khairy.
“I have not come to the stage where I will recommend to the Cabinet a federal mandate, but I am not far from it either,” he added.
The health minister also said in the press conference that the Cabinet has agreed to set a ceiling price for rapid test kits and it would be announced by the domestic trade minister.
He added that Malaysia can likely enter the endemic phase by the end of October, when 80 per cent of the country’s population have been vaccinated.
“By the end of October we will reach that endemic cut-off point where we have to start looking at living with the virus,” he said.
As of Tuesday, 46 per cent of the country's population, or 64.2 per cent of the adult population have been fully vaccinated.
Malaysia has so far recorded more than 1.7 million of COVID-19 cases and close to 17,000 deaths.