Covid-19: Govt Mulling Further Relaxation of SOPs Once Booster Vaccination is Completed — PM

PUTRAJAYA (Jan 25): The government is mulling further relaxation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) once the Covid-19 vaccination process in the country, including the administration of booster doses, is completed, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

He added that the matter, however, would depend on recommendations and advice of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“When the people are fully vaccinated and have received their booster doses, I believe we can give a little more relaxation of the SOPs, but this will depend on the MoH’s recommendations,” he said when addressing the Prime Minister’s Department staff here on Tuesday (Jan 25).

Ismail Sabri noted that if the SOPs are too rigid, they would definitely affect the national tourism industry.

Although the domestic tourism sector had been reopened, he said foreign tourists had yet to be allowed to enter the country and wage subsidies are still being given to tourism industry players.

According to the prime minister, some countries had also relaxed their SOPs for foreign tourists and that is something for Malaysia to consider.

“That’s why we feel that if the people have received their booster doses, we can relax the SOPs a little more,” he explained.

Ismail Sabri said that right now, the government is still being cautious about reopening the country’s borders due to Covid-19 infection concerns.

He stated that even though the Malaysia-Singapore vaccination travel land (VTL) initiative had kicked off and VTL discussions with Indonesia and Thailand had been initiated, the increasing number of Covid-19 cases overseas still caused Malaysia to suspend international travel.

He added that the reopening of the international tourism industry would help revive the economy and make the situation better for everybody in the country.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri repeated that the government had no plan to impose another movement control order (MCO) to restrict the movement of the people and the business sector.

“There have been rumours that the people cannot go back to their hometown [during Hari Raya] and that the business sector would be closed [again]. I have announced before that there will be no MCO and travel restrictions during Aidilfitri this year,” he stressed.

In an event in Bera, Pahang on Sunday, the prime minister said in the event there is an increase in cases in certain localities, the enhanced MCO targeted approach would be used but only for the localities.


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