The Pakatan Harapan (PH) Heath Committee cautions the prime minister and the federal government on reopening the nation with due care, considering the vaccination coverage is still low and uneven across the different states.
We urge the government to learn from their past mistakes and lift the movement restrictions gradually, not abruptly, compassionately, not forcefully, and to be evidence-based in their plans, or risk an unwelcome surge of Covid-19 cases in the community.
A hasty and poorly thought-out reopening would only introduce an additional unpredictable variable into the pandemic equation, further straining the struggling health care system.
The following parameters should be satisfied before any consideration for special privileges or lifting of movement restrictions:
- Vaccination coverage of at least 60 per cent.
- All high-risk groups, namely the elderly, disabled and those with comorbidities, are fully protected with two doses.
- The health care capacity is less than 70 per cent occupied and has adequate surge capacity.
- Adopting the Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, Support (FTTIS) strategy, which is key to Covid-19 infection control, and bringing the national and state positive rate below the 5 per cent benchmark to achieve pandemic control.
- The incidence rate should be less than 250 per 100,000 active cases.
These Key Performance Indicators can empower us to transition the nation safely and sustainably, with due care and caution, preserving the fine balance between lives and livelihoods and protecting the nation’s economic health and citizens’ physical and psychological health.
Notwithstanding this, the PH Health Committee considers it imperative to “reward” the fully immunised with the Green Pass and to incentivise others, namely the vaccine deniers and vaccine-hesitant to do likewise.
Travelling on public transport systems should be allowed to resume at 50 per cent capacity with strict compliance to masking and distancing. Residents in Perlis, Labuan and Sarawak should be eligible for liberal intra-state travel.
There is a pressing need for a paradigm shift from a #stayhome mindset to #staysafe. The latter has wreaked havoc with the people’s physical and psychological health.
Outdoor activities, with the benefit of natural ventilation and sunlight are 18 times safer than indoor activities.
All outdoor recreation facilities, e.g. parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, zoos, theme parks, etc. should be allowed to be operational, and all should be allowed to access these open-air facilities.
The #staysafe mindset means that while enjoying the benefits of our new-found freedom, every person must adhere to the pandemic trinity of masking, distancing and hygiene.
The Green Pass allows the fully immunised to access indoor non-contact sports and recreational facilities, retail privileges in supermarkets, shopping malls, services in houses of worship, attendances at weddings and funeral services, and visits to extended family members, who must all be similarly immunised and within the capacity stipulated by the authorities.
The Green Pass privileges will allow the near normalisation of economic activities. With clear guidelines to improve the ventilation of buildings from the relevant ministries, MySejahtera and/or SELangkah check-ins and judicious enforcement by the authorities, shopping malls, supermarkets, night and morning markets, other essential and non-essential industries would be able to resume business. All the staff members manning these business outlets must be similarly fully vaccinated.
Factories and workplaces can also function at near full capacity, with at least 80 per cent full vaccination coverage and regular testing policies. as mandated by the [email protected] protocols.
[email protected] guidelines demands that all teachers, staff and students aged between 12 and 17 years old be fully immunised before schools are fully opened.
Despite the privileges conferred by the Green Pass, all the public health measures including the wearing of face masks, practising physical distancing, hand hygiene must be adhered to and judiciously enforced, especially in view of the transmissibility and virulence of the variants of concern.
We also propose that the government must first announce their plans and privileges early to the public and only implement it once the necessary parameters are met. This will allow people to adjust and transition to the necessary SOPs and requirements, as well as indirectly encourage and incentivise those that have not registered for the vaccination to do so as soon as possible.
We also urge the government to continue to ramp up vaccination to provide adequate coverage in all states to hasten the rebooting of our economy and transition to the new normal of living with Covid-19 as an endemic.
Members of Pakatan Harapan Health Committee
- Dzulkefly Ahmad (Member of Parliament for Kuala Selangor, Amanah)
- Lee Boon Chye (Member of Parliament for Gopeng, Keadilan)
- Ong Kian Ming (Member of Parliament for Bangi, DAP)
- Dr Mohd Hatta Md Ramli (Member of Parliament for Lumut, Amanah)
- Dr Kelvin Yil (Member of Parliament for Kuching, DAP)
- Sim Tze Tzin (Member of Parliament for Bayan Baru, Keadilan)
- Alice Lau (Member of Parliament for Lanang, DAP)
- Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Exco, Selangor State Government)
- Dr Norlela Ariffin (Exco, Penang State Government)
- Veerapan Supramaniam (Exco, Negeri Sembilan State Government)
- Dr Niekmah Adam (Angkatan Wanita Amanah Negara)
- Dr Zaliha Mustafa (Majlis Pimpinan Pusat, Keadilan)
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