Eased Covid-19 controls only for the fully vaccinated: Malaysia's health minister

Under Malaysia's four-phase recovery plan, the third phase allows most economic sectors to operate while imposing some controls on social activities. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Only those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are allowed to take advantage of Malaysia's eased restrictions as the country embarks on its phased recovery plan, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Friday (Oct 1).

These include social and economic activities such as being allowed to dine at restaurants, reopen businesses and visit the hairdresser.

Mr Khairy made the clarification after the National Security Council announced that all individuals residing in a state under phase three of the recovery plan could dine at restaurants, regardless of their vaccination status.

Mr Khairy said in a statement that the standard operating procedure released by the council had not been updated, reported national news agency Bernama.

Under Malaysia's four-phase recovery plan, the third phase allows most economic sectors to operate while imposing some controls on social activities.

Senior minister for security Hishammuddin Hussein confirmed that only fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to dine in and enter all facilities, regardless of which phase of recovery the state is in.

"Yes, not only dine-ins but the Cabinet has agreed that the fully vaccinated requirement for every facility in every phase of the National Recovery Plan," he said in a tweet on Friday, according to The Star.

Mr Khairy said the Cabinet at its meeting agreed that every form of relaxation announced before this be implemented on condition that the full-vaccination status applies for all phases of the recovery plan.

"This decision was made after taking into consideration the safety of the people's lives, (the need for) strengthening of the country's public health system and smooth reopening of the economy, as well as ensuring the government's efforts to begin the transition process to the endemic phase is undertaken safely," he said, according to Bernama.

Currently none of Malaysia's states are under the strictest first phase of the plan, with restrictions having been gradually lifted now that more than 60 per cent of the population have been vaccinated.

Most places, including capital Kuala Lumpur and surrounding state Selangor are under phase three, while Negeri Sembilan and Labuan enjoy the most freedoms under phase four. Kedah, Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Johor and Sabah remain in phase two.

Mr Khairy said that the vaccination requirement was necessary, as the various states transitioned to eased controls even as the Delta variant remained dominant, making up 94.9 per cent of the new variants detected in the country.

He said the country's ability to exit the pandemic would depend not only on the government's efforts but also on people's compliance with set procedures.

"If the people become complacent due to the relaxation given, it is not impossible for the situation on infections to take a turn for the worse again," he said, reported Bernama.

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