Following the National Security Council (NSC) which was held on Friday (6 August), it is expected that the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will finalise the plans and announce to reopen certain sectors of the economy, especially for the small and medium enterprises (SME).
The NSC meeting was chaired by Muhyiddin and the matters discussed took into consideration the various data and views of health and economic experts on the rate of vaccination including the status of individual vaccination and intensive care unit capacity.
According to The Star, the sectors being considered for reopening will probably be those which are proven with low or even zero infection records. Meanwhile, the Government is expecting to further increase the vaccination rate to meet the targets required for the reopening.
In a separate press release, coordinating minister for the National Recovery Plan (NRP), Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said that the reopening will need to be decided based on the risk of Covid-19 infection in the respective sectors. He added that there is a need to assess the situation based on robust science and data, as the sector-based risk analysis alone might produce inconsistent results.
“So we have to look at all sectors, not just based on specific sectors, but in terms of the risk of Covid-19 in the respective sectors.” he said.
The sources also mentioned that the government may introduce a set of enhanced standard operating procedures as part of the reopening.
“I won’t expect all sectors to reopen at once as the government would be cautious to ensure no negative backlash. The numbers (Covid-19 cases) are still high but it is in the right direction to allow businesses to sustain.” said the sources.
Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul had in a press conference yesterday (7 August) announced that the “daily symptomatic hospital admission rate” will be the new indicator to determine whether a state can move forward in the Phases under the National Recovery Plan (NRP).
The criteria involves the symptomatic cases that is based on daily hospital admission number of patients in Categories Three (with pneumonia), Four (needs supplementary oxygen) and Five (critical condition with multiple complications).
“The NSC meetings chaired by the Prime Minister (last week) have considered and accepted the new indicator, based on expert health advice as well as international and domestic experiences on the decline of Covid-19 transmission in tandem with adult vaccination.” he said.
“NSC decided that the new indicator will replace the existing indicator (new daily Covid-19 case numbers) when the vaccination percentage in any particular state under Phase One has hit at least 50% of the adult population.”
“The evaluation for progression from one phase to another is still subject to meeting other indicators such as the availability of intensive care unit (ICU) beds and adult vaccination rate.” said Tengku Zafrul.
On the other hand, Muhyiddin had recently met with the industry leaders, including the Representatives of the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, where they said some multinational companies had vaccinated all their employees under the Pikas (Public-Private Partnership Industrial Covid-19 Immunisation Programme), put their employees in safe work bubbles and is willing to conduct testing every 2 weeks.
“Yet in the lockdown on Selangor, these multinational companies still can’t operate as they do not fall under the essential list. This created much unhappiness as they have spent a lot of money, time and effort on this. Their workers are mostly Malaysians.” said the sources.
““The Prime Minister also considered that the data from May 2020 showed that the first total lockdown resulted in a 5.3% unemployment rate, one of the highest in the country’s history, where 826,000 people lost their jobs.”
“Further data from the Statistics Department was presented to show NSC that should the economy sectors remain closed, we may be seeing a million going jobless as companies cannot pay their employees while not operating at maximum capacity, if at all.” added the sources.