KUALA LUMPUR, August 23 — Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today attributed the Covid-19 epidemic in the state to lack of standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance, poor enforcement, and initial delays in the vaccination programme.
In his speech at the opening of the Selangor state assembly today, the Selangor ruler said faults across the board triggered a third wave of the Malaysian epidemic that sent Covid-19 cases and deaths soaring in the state.
Sultan Sharafuddin said he is saddened that the state remains the highest contributor to the country’s daily coronavirus cases and death count. As of yesterday, Selangor has recorded a cumulative 557,510 infections and 5,137 deaths from Covid-19, comprising 36 per cent of both the country’s 1.6 million case tally and death toll of over 14,000 victims.
He said the situation became more critical when some people in Selangor did not comply with restrictions under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) that banned travelling across districts and states during the Aidilfitri and Aidiladha festivities in May and July, respectively.
“To make matters worse, there are political leaders, dignitaries, and celebrities who abuse their position to arbitrarily violate orders issued when the EMCO is in force by participating in activities prohibited by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Security Council,” he said.
Sultan Sharafuddin also cited lack of SOP enforcement by local authorities and employers at workplaces that allowed the more transmissible Delta variant to spread within communities.
“For example, people were seen visiting the night and Ramadan markets in large numbers without much concern for physical distancing and the use of face masks. The same goes for the factory operations where employers have failed to provide strict SOPs for their employees who do come to work,” he said.
Another key contributor he highlighted was the state’s slow vaccination rollout during the early stages of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
“In the early stages of PICK, states with large population sizes were not given priority. Priority was also not given to areas in the Klang Valley where there are widespread industrial activities. As a result, the Covid-19 virus spread rapidly in areas with large populations and gave rise to factory clusters that are spreading with little control,” the state ruler said.
Moving forward, Sultan Sharafuddin urged the people of Selangor to be more mindful in practising SOPs and for state representatives to encourage more people to be vaccinated against Covid-19 so that the state can achieve herd immunity by the end of August as targeted.
He said as of August 13, a total of 5,874,162 vaccine doses had been administered to Selangor residents under PICK. This equates to 77.64 per cent of the state’s adult population receiving at least a single dose, while 46.05 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
Additionally, a total of 276,926 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered through the state-run Selvax inoculation programme that targets industrial employees.