KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 ― Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today announced that there will only be one standard operating procedure (SOP) but nine guidelines as the country makes the transition into the Covid-19 endemic phase.
Hishammuddin, who is also the chair of the Covid-19 Quartet Ministers Meeting, said that a website fully detailing the SOP and guidelines ― in collaboration with the National Security Council (NSC) ― is already in its final stages of completion and should be up and running two weeks before April 1.
“Apart from the opening of the country's borders, especially those that have long been separated from husbands, wives and family members, it is also important that we all note that in this Phase, there is one SOP and nine guidelines.
“It is one of the seven most important pillars in the phase, especially in the country's quest to return to the closest semblance of normalcy,” he said in a statement today.
Hishammuddin explained that the single SOP in the ‘Transition to Endemic’ phase has been simplified from the 181 SOPs that were enforced by the National Recovery Plan, but emphasised that it will still be enforced under Act 342 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
He added that the single SOP contains 10 requirements. These include: for people to continue wearing face masks in public spaces; that shops keep to the operation hours based on their respective permits or licences; maintain hand cleanliness; use the MySejahtera app scan the QR codes before entering premises; ensure physical distancing; ensure good ventilation and clean premises and adhere to vaccination requirements for certain activities.
Other requirements are to perform Covid-19 detection tests based on the National Testing Strategy; and manage suspected or confirmed cases in accordance with guidelines from the Ministry of Health.
“All 10 of these requirements were commonly practised by the public in the National Recovery Plan Phase. For that reason, I believe every layer of society can continue to implement it to the best of our ability.
“In the meantime, in line with the 'Transition to Endemic' Phase where we must learn to live together with the Covid-19 virus and prioritise self-discipline, it is vital that we understand the risks of Covid-19 transmission as well as adopt preventive measures,” he said.
Hishammuddin said the nine guidelines will not be enforced, but are recommendations so people can remain vigilant on the risk of Covid-19 infections when engaging in certain activities.
He said they were developed to help people make safer health choices when carrying out their daily activities for themselves and their loved ones.
The nine guidelines include transportation and travel, education and care, retail, food and beverage activities, closed workspaces, open workspaces, events, entertainment and tourist attractions, hotels and homestays, religious, marital and funeral affairs, and sports and recreational activities.
“My deepest appreciation to all members of Keluarga Malaysia who have supported every effort by the government in tackling Covid-19. This includes complying with SOPs as well as getting vaccines and booster doses.
“The country's ability to enter the 'Transition to Endemic' Phase on April 1 is the result of our joint efforts. Let us continue this momentum to protect ourselves and our loved ones from Covid-19,” he said.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that Malaysia will begin the process of transitioning to the endemic phase of Covid-19 on April 1.
Malaysia postponed its transition to the endemic stage planned for last year due to uncertainties surrounding the increase in cases due to the Omicron variant, followed by the devastating floods in eight states in December.