KUALA LUMPUR, August 12 — The Selangor state government wants to avoid a repeat of last year’s premature reopening of state borders that resulted in a spike of Covid-19 cases overwhelming health care facilities.
Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said the state executive council will meet next week on the possibility of relaxing certain Covid-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, as mooted earlier by Senior Foreign Minister (Security Cluster) Hishammuddin Hussein for states under Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), of which Selangor is under.
“We will have a thorough discussion next week on the possibility or any ideas of reopening. We will then give our advice to the National Security Council (MKN) to make sure that any decision made is not premature and we do not repeat the premature decision of allowing people to cross state borders like the end of last year for domestic tourism.
“The result of that is we have a new wave in January that we’re seeing until now,” Amirudin told a media briefing today.
He said some countries are reporting a relapse of hospitalisation and intensive care unit (ICU) rates despite having high Covid-19 vaccination rates, due to the rise of new variants.
“Unfortunately, the numbers have increased again so we have to maintain standard operating procedures (SOPs) like social distancing and the usage of face masks. The SOPs are still important even though you are fully vaccinated,” Amirudin said.
The federal government on Sunday announced the relaxation of movement restrictions for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19, even as only 36 per cent of the adult population had completed inoculation at the time.
The exemption of Covid-19 rules, which came into effect on Tuesday, included inter-district travel, dine-ins at restaurants, domestic tourism and non-contact individual sports in states under Phase Two of the NRP.
Amirudin said Selangor is expecting to see a decline in symptomatic or severely ill coronavirus cases under Categories Three, Four, and Five by the end of August or in September, as more of the state’s adult population get vaccinated in the coming weeks.
The MB said about 77 per cent of Selangor’s adult population has received at least one vaccine dose to date, including 44 per cent who have been fully inoculated.
“Based on Sarawak’s projection and even in Labuan, we expect by the end of August or September, we will see the results of the vaccination programme, which is a decline in Categories Three, Four, and Five patients, which will effectively reduce the pressure on our hospitals. I believe this puts us on the right track to reach herd immunity in the next recovery phase,” Amirudin said.
Sarawak’s hospitalisation and ICU rates have been declining since mid-June, partly due to the state’s accelerated vaccination rate, although Covid-19 case numbers have been rising. The state reported a record high 1,216 new cases today.