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What does moving into the endemic phase mean for Malaysia?

In: Health

Malaysia is currently in a transition phase to coronavirus endemicity. This is a temporary phase before Malaysia fully enters the endemic phase. The Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that this transition phase will provide the community the opportunity to learn to adopt and live with public health measures that are least disruptive to daily life.

In this phase, we are shifting from reliance on government interventions, such as strict SOPs and laws, to individual responsibility and community solidarity to ensure that the virus does not spread.

It is important to remember that the coronavirus is still very much present in Malaysia and the world. This transition phase and the endemic phase that will follow does not mean that the virus has disappeared. Just like dengue is endemic in Malaysia (and has been since the 1980s), COVID-19 will be considered consistently present and its rate of spread predictable.

So, what does this transition phase mean for us? What do we have to do? In a nutshell, we must still ensure that we adhere to certain safety measures as we slowly transition into the endemic phase. It is up to each individual to perform a personal risk assessment every day in every situation you are in.

Here are some frequently asked questions that can act as a guideline for you. You may find more information on the MOH’s #ReopeningSafely page.

 

Do I still have to scan-in and register with the MySejatera app?

Yes, you still have to scan in to business premises and buildings with your MySejahtera app.

Businesses must ensure that employees and individuals scan in, and also that only people with a ‘low risk’ status on their MySejahtera are allowed to enter.

Businesses must also ensure that everyone entering the premises is fully vaccinated, as shown on their MySejahtera app. Though the MOH has said that anyone who has not received their booster shot will lose their ‘fully vaccinated’ status, you are still allowed to enter malls and dine-in at restaurants. However, you should note that a business owner may decide to only allow fully vaccinated people on their premises for everyone’s safety.

 

Do I still have to wear a face mask?

Yes, you must still wear a face mask.

Everyone must ensure that they wear a face mask at all times when in the company of other people. You may remove your mask while eating, doing sports or even where you are in a public space where there are no other people or you are not interacting with people. The key is to use your own reason and discretion to consider what is safe for you, the people around you and the people you interact with everyday (your family and friends).

People who are exempted from wearing a face mask are:

  • Children aged five and below
  • Individuals with special needs (with specific disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism)
  • Individuals with breathing difficulties – a certified medical report from a registered medical practitioner is required.

 

Do I need to practice physical distancing?

Yes, you should still ensure that you maintain physical distance of at least on metre from others. Physical distancing is not required during contact sports and recreational activities, or during congregational prayers.

Again, it is up to you to decide what is safe and reasonable for you and the people around you.

 

Do I still have to wash and sanitise my hands?

Yes, you should still keep your hands clean. Hand cleanliness is one of the behaviours you should keep into the endemic phase and beyond. Clean hands protect you from not just the coronavirus but other viruses and bacteria as well.

 

Do I need to take regular COVID-19 tests?

You are encouraged to take COVID-19 tests before certain activities, such as travelling (even domestic travel), religious activities, weddings and other gatherings, sports activities and other activities where you will be in contact with others.

If you have taken a self-test, you should report your results (positive or negative) through your MySejahtera application.

 

What do I do if I’m positive or I’m a close contact?

The MOH has announced revamped rules for those you are COVID- positive or have come into close contact with a COVID-positive person. Please refer to this infographic:

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