lifestyle

Here Are The 10 COVID-19 Rules You Need To Remember From 1 April

The requirements were reduced from 181 to just 10 and placed under one set of COVID-19 standard operation procedures (SOP) as part of the transition to the 'endemic' phase.

Cover image via Sinar Harian & Adib Rawi Yahya/theSundaily

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As Malaysia transitions to the 'endemic' phase from 1 April, the COVID-19 health measures will be simplified from 181 to just 10 requirements

In a statement yesterday, 9 March, Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said these requirements — placed under one set of COVID-19 standard operation procedures (SOP) — are already being practiced by the public under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), so he believes the people can continue following them as best they can.

The 'transition to edemicity' has been described by the Prime Minister as an exit strategy that will allow Malaysians to return to near-normal life after nearly two years of battling the pandemic.

These are the simplified COVID-19 guidelines you need to know:

1. Wear a face mask in public spaces.

Masking up in public is still a must.

According to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the proper way to wear a mask is to cover the entire nose and chin, and not push it up to the forehead or under the chin, or have it only cover part of the nose and mouth.

He did not specify a particular type of mask for the general public, but reminded people with respiratory issues, as well as those in high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with comorbidities, to use three-ply surgical masks.

2. Stick to business operation hours according to the licence or permit.

There are actually no more restrictions on business operating hours from 1 April.

This means businesses like your favourite 24-hour mamak restaurants that had been open for 24 hours previously, can do so again provided they are licensed to.

3. Maintain hand hygiene.

To curb the spread of COVID-19, you should wash your hands with soap often.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands before and after:

— Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
— Touching your mask.
— Entering and leaving a public place.
— Touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, petrol pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens.

4. Get tested for COVID-19 according to the National Testing Strategy.

Image via Sinar Harian

An easy way to remember this is to follow TRIIS:

TEST
Get tested with a self-test kit as soon as possible if you are experiencing any infection symptoms such as runny nose, fever or cough.

REPORT

Report the test result (negative, positive or invalid) on your MySejahtera immediately.

ISOLATE
Isolate yourself immediately with discipline if you have been tested positive for COVID-19.
Adhere to the Home Surveillance Order (HSO) imposed by Ministry of Health (MOH).

INFORM
Inform your close contacts and immediate family members urgently if your test result is positive. Inform the health authorities or any COVID-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) nearby if your condition has worsened while self-quarantining at home.

SEEK
Seek immediate treatment at any healthcare facility or a CAC nearby if you are experiencing worsening symptoms such as breathing difficulties or high fever.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, you are encouraged to get tested before and after participating in activities or events involving different households.

For more information, click here for the full guide of the National COVID-19 Testing Strategy.

5. Manage suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 based on MOH's guidelines.

MOH has introduced and launched a website with COVID-19 protocols for the public to easily navigate through the steps they should take.

Image via Covid Protocol

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the protocols would be updated on the portal from time to time to provide the most updated information.

6. Use MySejahtera to scan the QR codes before entering premises.

MySejahtera check-ins at every entry point is still mandatory, except for open areas that are not crowded and where there are no public gatherings.

MYSJTrace is required for indoor events with a large number of guests/visitors.

7. Maintain physical distancing of one metre, whenever possible.

Religious activities, including prayers at all houses of worship, can be held without physical distancing. 

However, the implementation and final SOPs will be subject to the decision of the state religious authorities for mosques and suraus. The national unity ministry will decide for non-Muslim houses of worship.

The 50% capacity limit for social activities at halls or hotels have also been lifted, but attendees need to make sure they maintain a reasonable physical distance from one another.

8. Ensure a good ventilation system.

To improve ventilation in your home or workspace, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends opening windows or doors whenever possible.

For better ventilation, open windows/doors on opposite sides of a room to create a cross breeze. If creating a cross breeze is not possible, you can place a fan in front of an open window to increase air flow and push indoor air outside.

If the temperature outside is extremely hot or cold, you can open windows for a few minutes every hour to bring in fresh air.

9. Ensure good hygiene and cleanliness of your home and workspaces.

Cleaning with a household cleaner that contains soap or detergent reduces the amount of bacteria on surfaces and decreases risk of infection from surfaces.

In most situations, cleaning alone removes most virus particles on surfaces. Disinfection to reduce transmission of COVID-19 at home is likely not needed unless someone in your home is sick or if someone who is positive for COVID-19 has been in your home within the last 24 hours.

These are a few basic things you can do to maintain a clean home:

— Clean the soft surfaces (carpets, rugs, and drapes) with soap and water or with cleaners made for use on these surfaces.
— Launder items (if possible) using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
— Clean high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, and light switches regularly.
— Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics (for example, phones, tablets, touchscreens, keyboards, and remote controls) to make cleaning easier.

The CDC has a full guideline on how to clean and disinfect your home every day as well as when someone in your home has tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the WHO's recommendations on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.

10. Comply with the vaccination requirements.

Starting 1 April, Sinovac vaccine recipients aged 18 and above as well as senior citizens who have not taken a booster dose will have their vaccination status changed to 'incomplete'. On their MySejahtera app, their status will go from yellow to white.

Find out how to you can get the Sinovac booster at offsite vaccination centres (PPVs) for free here.

Read more about the Prime Minister's announcement on Malaysia's transition into the endemic phase:

Meanwhile, Sinovac vaccine recipients and senior citizens need to get their booster jabs by 31 March to keep their fully vaccinated status: