Vaccination among Malaysians played a major role in the country’s recovery from Covid-19. — Picture by Farhan Najib.
By Audrey Edwards
Thursday, 17 Nov 2022 12:18 PM MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — It is a very known fact that Covid-19 ravaged the citizens of the world.
The deadly virus left millions of people dead and even more infected with it.
And while there are vaccines now to temper the situation, the after effects of the pandemic have also left economies of countries scrambling to be at pre-pandemic levels.
It also left people struggling to earn a livelihood and this left the governments of each country with no choice but to find solutions.
In Malaysia, then-prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the National Recovery Plan (NRP) last June.
He is now National Recovery Council (NRC) chairman.
It comprises four phases and has three specific threshold indicators that decides when pandemic restrictions would be lifted in stages.
Each phase is based on thresholds that look at daily Covid-19 case average numbers, capacity of the public health system and vaccination rate of the general population.
The transition to the different phases also differed by state.
The phases were:
This first phase was the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) nationwide. It was also when case numbers were still high leaving the public health system at a critical level.
Vaccination rates were still low.
Predictions last June indicated that the country would move into Phase Two in July but only if cases were below 4,000, vaccination rates were 10 per cent and usage of intensive care units fell to a “moderate level”.
Phase One was when only essential services were allowed to operate and social sectors and activities were barred.
Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya moved into this phase last September.
With that came a sense of normalcy as citizens were able to resume some of their activities like in pre-pandemic days.
This was especially true for those who were fully immunised.
At that point, only Johor and Kedah (with the exception of Langkawi) were the only two states still in Phase One while Negri Sembilan, Sarawak and Perlis had moved on to Phase Three.
Labuan was the only area in the country that had entered Phase 4 of the NRP.
Among the allowances allowed to those fully vaccinated were being able to dine-in at any restaurant, stall, kiosk or any eatery, travel in more than pairs in private vehicles, interdistrict travel, watch movies in cinemas and domestic holidays either in hotels, homestays or campsites.
More economic sectors were open, however, there were others that remained closed.
These included spas, reflexology and massage centres, cybercafes, nightclubs and pubs, social gatherings and fellowships for weddings, festivities and reunions and in-person and MICE seminars, courses, training, conferences, lectures or exhibitions.
All economic activities were allowed with the exception of those listed in the “negative list”.
These included spas, pedicure and manicure providers and night clubs and pubs.
Interstate travel was still disallowed.
The required threshold for Phase Three was for daily Covid-19 cases to be below 2,000, the healthcare system to be at a “comfortable” level and at least 40 per cent of the population having received their second vaccination dose.
KL, Selangor and Putrajaya moved from Phase Two to Three of the NRP on October 1, 2021.
It was announced that Selangor, KL and Putrajaya would move to Phase Four on October 18, 2021.
The whole country is currently in Phase Four.
“These movements are in line with the guidelines in the NRP and rate of vaccination in the country. The Ministry of Health has reported cases have been below 10,000 for two weeks in a row,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement in October last year.
“Adding to that, as of yesterday, our vaccination rate for adults is 95 per cent for one dose and 91.2 per cent for two doses.”
Easing of restrictions included allowing highway rest stops to operate round-the-clock and e-hailing services could carry passengers without restrictions.
The quarantine period for fully-vaccinated travellers from abroad was reduced to seven days, and 10 days for partially or non-vaccinated travellers.
As for those with close contact, fully-vaccinated individuals are to be quarantined for seven days and 10 days for non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals.
Previously the mandatory quarantine period was 14 days with a second test to be done on the 10th day of quarantine.
The need for a MyTravelPass to go overseas was also not needed anymore.