KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 – Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic and long after the world discovered that the coronavirus could be transmitted by asymptomatic people, Malaysia will finally remove the requirement of temperature scans for entry into public spaces.
Temperature checks have long been used during the pandemic to deny entry to people at public premises with high temperatures, even though a person who has a fever may not necessarily be infected with Covid-19. A person without symptoms or a high temperature can also be infected with the virus.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 technical lead, reportedly said in June 2020 that modelling studies estimated up to 40 per cent of Covid-19 infections could be transmitted by people who are infected but do not show symptoms.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) decision to drop temperature checks from Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be brought to the National Security Council (NSC) meeting so that National Recovery Plan SOP documents would be revised accordingly.
“After the SOP is revised at the coming (ministerial) quartet meeting, it will no longer be compulsory for premises to provide temperature screenings. It’s sufficient to just scan MySejahtera. No more temperature checks.
“The other thing we will suggest to NSC to do away with is the book because I can tell you we don’t use the book for contact tracing,” Khairy told a press conference today, referring to logbooks provided at public premises for visitors to jot their names and contact details upon entry.
The government’s MySejahtera contact tracing mobile app is used ubiquitously throughout the country, although there are some people who do not own mobile phones.
Khairy explained that public premises, like shops, restaurants, and malls, are still required to get patrons to check in with MySejahtera, to show their “fully vaccinated” status on the app, and to wear face masks and practise social distancing.
According to official statistics, every single adult in the Klang Valley is fully vaccinated, as well as 98 per cent of adults nationwide.
“We recommend for you to switch on your MySejahtera Trace Bluetooth so that we can do contact tracing when you’re in indoor spaces. You don’t need to have your bluetooth on all the time obviously, like when you’re at home, you can switch your Bluetooth off.
“But when you go to a crowded place, please switch on your MySJ Trace. It’s not compulsory, but we highly recommend it,” he said.
Khairy said about five million people currently use the MySJ Trace function that enables health authorities to know who was in close proximity, via Bluetooth, with a person who later tests positive for Covid-19.
Casual contacts flagged by MySJ Trace will be asked to monitor their symptoms and to self-test for the virus; they do not need to immediately self-isolate.