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2022 – New chapter as Malaysia eases its Covid-19 curbs

2022 – New chapter as Malaysia eases its Covid-19 curbs

KUALA LUMPUR: Many have described the year 2022 as a new chapter for Malaysia when the country entered the transition to the Covid-19 endemic phase on April 1 after battling the virus outbreak for two years.

Like many other countries, though the world has not declared it at endemic stage yet, Malaysia decided to ease its restriction measures on Covid-19.

And though there was a need to continue certain standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of the virus, the transition saw gradual relaxations in restrictions being implemented throughout the year.

Among the relaxations that were announced were the reopening of the country’s borders, the use of face mask was gradually lifted and it was no longer compulsory to scan the MySejahtera QR code when entering premises.

The wearing of face masks was no longer mandatory outdoors from May 1 as well as indoors later on Sept 7, but this was up to the individual.

Later on Sept 28, it was announced that travellers were no longer required to wear face masks when on airplanes. It was made compulsory to wear face masks on public transport since Aug 1, 2020.

Though the transition saw people returning to their pre-pandemic normal lives, until today some people still practice self-discipline as they continue wearing face masks which was a new norm since Covid-19 swept across the world in 2020.

Earlier, during any by-election (PRK) and state election (PRN) several SOPs were introduced for Covid-19 positive individuals who were going to cast their ballot, including the provision of a special room or route for them, but during the recent 15th general election on Nov 15, the government decided these measures were no longer necessary.

Instead, Covid-19 positive individuals were only required to wear a face mask and to inform election workers at the polling centres about their health status.

Meanwhile, the seven-day quarantine period for Covid-19 positive individuals could also be reduced to four days if their test result was found to be negative on the fourth day, and quarantine was no loner required for close contacts of Covid-19 positive individuals.

In going through the transition phase, the government pursued its efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19. In fact the main protection against the virus – vaccination and booster doses continued to be given free to all Malaysians.

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On Sept 14, World Health Organisation director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a virtual press conference from Geneva, Switzerland reportedly said that the Covid-19 pandemic that has been going on since Jan 2020 was getting closer to the finish line.

However, Malaysia was reported to be facing a small wave of Covid-19 cases following the discovery of the Omicron XBB sub-variant in the country on Oct 31.

As of Dec 22 this year, the cumulative Covid-19 cases in the country stood at 5,0121,242 while in 2022 a record of 33,406 new daily cases was reported on March 5. – Bernama