GEORGE TOWN: Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s announcement on the relaxation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) begs many questions, Gerakan said today.
Gerakan national vice-president Datuk Baljit Singh said, by declaring the use of face masks no longer mandatory outdoors right before the festive season, appeared to be more of a political move rather than of public safety.
He said many would be gathering outdoors over the forthcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri while others were likely to enter crowded places outdoors without bothering to wear a mask, simply because they were no longer required to.
He added that by simply encouraging and not mandating those who were high-risk individuals, including those who were symptomatic with fever, cough and flu to keep their masks on, was foolhardy and just looking for future trouble.
“Our medical staff and other frontliners are just starting to relax a little after working tirelessly over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Do we want to see the reopening of Covid-19 wards and intensive care units along with quarantine centres all over again?
“As for the check-in using the MySejahtera contact tracing app in public places being dropped, why bother even using this app anymore? It is high time that the app be done away with once and for all. Vaccinated and fully-boosted Malaysians could be given tokens or cards to show as proof of their vaccination status.
“The health minister and his policy-making team need to ensure that they will no longer be made the laughing stock among Malaysians and the rest of the world for their inconsistent and hasty policies in handling the pandemic.
“Malaysia can always emulate its neighbouring countries if they are unsure of handling the current situation. It is high time too that Malaysians also assume a certain measure of responsibility as we transition into an endemic state,” he said today.
Baljit said the absence of gate-keepers and adopting very loose measures were likely to cause a reversal of the current situation where Covid-19 cases seemed to be under control and the economy on track to recover.
“The road to recovery lies far ahead and the last thing we need is a lockdown ‘disaster’ which befell Shanghai in China,” he added.
Yesterday, Khairy had announced that face masks were no longer mandatory outdoors from May 1, as were MySejahtera check-ins.
He had also announced that all social and economic activities will be allowed starting May 15.