Only one COVID-19 SOP, nine guidelines as Malaysia transits to endemic phase: Senior minister Hishammuddin
JOHOR BAHRU: The Malaysian government will reduce the existing COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) from 181 to just one starting April as the country transitions to the endemic phase, said Senior Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
The one SOP will however have 10 requirements, including the wearing of masks, physical distancing and vaccination requirements for various activities.
“Although there is only one SOP, it will still be enforced under Act 342 starting Apr 1,” Mr Hishammuddin said in a statement on Wednesday (Mar 9).
Act 342 is Malaysia's Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
The other requirements are operating hours for shops according to the permit or licence, maintaining hand hygiene, performing COVID-19 tests according to the National Testing Strategy, the management of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases according to the Health Ministry’s guidelines, the use of the MySejahtera application, good ventilation systems and ensuring the cleanliness of premises.
“All the requirements have been practised by the public during the National Recovery Phase. Because of this, I believe that every layer of society will continue adhering to it,” said Mr Hishammuddin, who is the chairman of the COVID-19 Ministerial Quartet.
Besides the SOP, Mr Hishammuddin also said that there were nine guidelines to help the public make safer choices when carrying out daily activities to maintain the safety of themselves, their families and those around them.
He said that as Malaysia transitioned to the endemic phase where they had to live with the COVID-19 virus, it was important for the public to prioritise self-discipline and to understand the risk of infection as well as preventing it.
GUIDELINES WILL NOT BE ENFORCED
The guidelines, which Mr Hishammuddin said will not be enforced, cover activities related to transportation and travel; education and care; retail, food and beverage; closed workspaces; open workspaces; events, ceremonies, entertainment and tourist attractions; hotels and guest accommodation; religious events, weddings and funerals; and sports, recreation and leisure activities.
“The country's ability to transition to the endemic phase on Apr 1 is the result of a joint effort. Let's continue the momentum to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19,” said Mr Hishammuddin.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that Malaysia would transition to the endemic phase from Apr 1, with the country to fully reopen its borders on that date.
Malaysia is still consistently recording more than 20,000 COVID-19 infections daily amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
It recorded 31,490 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the cumulative national tally to more than 3.6 million since the pandemic began.
Malaysia has also reported 33,383 deaths due to the virus.