Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham asserted that the ongoing reopening of sectors is not indicative of the situation being safe
Taking to his personal Facebook page yesterday night, 19 August, Dr Noor Hisham says instead that it is due to economic considerations.
"A reminder to all, many places are opening up because of the economy and not because it is safe," he said.
This exhortation comes after caretaker Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced additional standard operating procedure (SOP) relaxations for fully vaccinated individuals beginning today, August 20.
Among the relaxations of SOPs for National Recovery Plan (NRP) Phase 1 states are dine-in privileges at restaurants, camping activities, picnics, as well as the reopening of wet markets and night markets.
Noor Hisham stressed that Malaysians must not let their guard down in fighting this ongoing pandemic
"(It is) not easy to strike a balance between health and economy; lives and livelihoods."
He urges the public to continue wearing masks and to double-mask with a face shield if possible.
"Please... practise physical distancing and frequent hand washing. Avoid crowded and confined spaces. Stay safe and get vaccinated as soon as possible," he elaborated.
The Health director-general also reassured the public that the COVID-19 vaccines work to keep the virus at bay, even against the now-rampant Delta variant.
"We have to comply to all the SOPs and (sic) neither can we continue to close down our economy," he said, adding that enforcement must be more stringent.
The sentiments were echoed by ProtectHealth Corporation CEO Anas Alam Faizli, who urged those who are fully vaccinated not to be complacent
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Anas said that the public must take into consideration the big-picture situation.
"Just because you can doesn't mean you have to go out," he said.
"No handshaking. Safety must always be your number one priority."
The company he heads is directly responsible for encouraging the private sector's participation in the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, which has seen many GLCs and private hospitals administer vaccines via this arrangement.
Yesterday, 19 August, Malaysia recorded its highest ever number of new COVID-19 cases, with 22,948 testing positive
However, of this number, only 2% (or 457 cases) are in the symptomatic categories of three, four and five.
The vast majority of cases recorded were from unvaccinated individuals, with a whopping 84.2% of the above-mentioned categories being so.
At the same time, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 were recorded at 178, of which 35 were brought-in-dead.
On the vaccination front, Malaysia has now achieved 37% of the total population receiving both doses, or slightly over 12 million individuals.
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