Thursday 07 Dec 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 8): Malaysia will enter the “Transition to Endemic” phase of Covid-19 on April 1, with all restrictions on business operating hours removed and prayer activities allowed without physical distancing.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, in a nationwide address on Tuesday, said the transition to the endemic phase is an exit strategy that would allow Malaysians to return to near-normal life after nearly two years of battling the pandemic.

"This is also a temporary phase before the country moves to the endemic phase, which can only be announced by the World Health Organisation,” said Ismail Sabri.

Under the relaxed Covid-19 rules and standard operating procedures (SOPs) from April 1:

  • The wearing of face masks in public places is still mandatory.
  • Restrictions on business operating hours are abolished. Owners of business premises are allowed to set the hours of operation according to the terms of their business licence. This means restaurants and convenience stores previously operating round the clock may do so again.
  • Admission registration using the MySejahtera app is still mandatory at all premises, but is exempt at open areas that are not crowded and where there are no public gatherings. In addition, MYSJTrace is required for indoor events with large number of guests/visitors.
  • Prayers and religious activities in mosques/suraus and other houses of worship may be conducted without physical distancing rules. However, the implementation and final SOPs will be subject to the decision of the state religious authorities (for mosques/suraus) and the national unity ministry (non-Muslim houses of worship).
  • Interstate travel is allowed for all regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Limits on the number of people allowed in the workplace based on vaccination coverage is abolished.

The transition to the endemic stage was originally planned for last year but it was put off following the increase in Covid-19 cases with the spread of the Omicron variant, and also due to the floods in eight states in December.

Ismail Sabri said that while the number of daily Covid-19 cases has increased dramatically amid the spread of the Omicron variant, severe cases (categories 3, 4, and 5 patients) are still low at 0.7%.

He also pointed out that the number of Covid-19 patients requiring intensive care unit treatment and monitoring is also under control, at a rate of 42%.

As of March 7, 98.7% of the country's adult population had received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, while 64% had received their booster shots.

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Edited ByS Kanagaraju
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