KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) said today it will review the legal requirement for people to register their entry to public premises through MySejahtera check-ins.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said MOH no longer does manual contact tracing for Covid-19 by interviewing positive cases on their contact history, relying instead primarily on technology through check-in data on the app and MySJ Trace, a function on MySejahtera that detects casual contacts via Bluetooth.
“Our strategy for close contact tracing is being reviewed,” Khairy told a press conference today.
He explained that MOH would, for now, retain MySejahtera check-ins and MySJ Trace to notify casual or close contacts, as this would be prudent in cases of Covid-19 spread at gatherings.
“For now, we still retain it, but this is always under review as the pandemic situation evolves.”
When CodeBlue pressed for a timeline, Khairy said more announcements – which he has discussed with Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and a group of experts – would be made in a month or two.
“We’ll announce it in phases in a stepwise manner.”
With Malaysia preparing to transition into an endemic phase from April 1 of living with Covid-19, this means a shift of the country’s public health approach of managing the disease from outbreak containment to reducing the severe impact of Covid-19, like hospitalisation or mortality.
In other words, while tracing close contacts of positive cases and subsequently quarantining them was necessary back then to curb the spread of infection and potential outbreaks, treating Covid-19 as endemic means accepting that people can get infected anywhere, but severe disease and deaths can be reduced by vaccination and ensuring quick access to testing and treatment.
Malaysia is among the most vaccinated countries in the world. Nearly 80 per cent of the total population is fully vaccinated, while two-thirds of adults aged 18 and above have received boosters.
Khairy previously told Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii in a written parliamentary reply that MySJ Trace identified 124,643 close or casual contacts of Covid-19 cases as of February 15.
The contacts were linked to 11,212 Covid-positive users who had uploaded their interaction gathered over 14 days.