Ease Restriction With Caution Says MEF Chief

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muyhiddin is scheduled to make an announcement on perks for those who have been fully vaccinated, however this rather anticipated news has to be taken with a precautionary note. Although those who have received both doses are less impacted by the Covid-19 virus, studies are still ongoing with regards to the Delta strain and future evolution of the virus.

With businesses set to resume operations very soon, Malaysian Employers Federation President has called for the borders to remain closed and prevent interstate travel while businesses within the states should be allowed to operate with strict compliance to SOPs.

Dato’ Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman, in supporting the position of the Ministry of Health to not ease restrictions prematurely, said MEF supported the MOH because of concerns that Covid-19 could still spread with the Delta variant as the current dominant strain in Malaysia.

Even though the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme has done a terrific job in ramping vaccinations in the country, evidence is proving that those vaccinated can continue to be infected and some even becoming serious. For example, it was reported that in the UK about 35 per cent of those infected and require hospital treatment had completed both doses of vaccine. However, these are just rare incidents but definitely does not outweigh the cause to vaccinate.

On the recovery phase, the President has urged the authorities to open up all the economic sectors in the areas within the state borders as this would allow the businesses and the economy to recover, as well as revitalise the job market. These sectors have been suffering for 2 years since the pandemic hit, most smaller businesses are in the brink of collapse while owners are complaining of mental stress.

The notion of waiting move to Phase 2 or 3 of the National Recovery Plan based on the number of daily Covid-19 infections is not applicable because the more screening that is conducted, the positive results will increase accordingly. It is normal as it is already endemic in the community and all must accept this as reality. 

He also asks to allow all non-essential sectors to open including, sports, barbers and salons, but excluding the night entertainment industry. And those who received two doses of the vaccines should be rewarded by allowing them to dine-in at restaurants. Except for the red zones, travel within the state should not be restricted. Interstate travel should be the last restriction to be removed.

MEF views the position of the MOH on the variants seriously due to the many uncertainties regarding the safety and health of employees, including vaccinated employees but at the same time the economy needs to reopen for livelihoods to normalise.

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