Goh (middle row, 2nd from left) and Dr Wong (top row, on the left) and the other participants having a fruitful discussion during the online health forum.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has called on the Chinese community to better prepare to co-exist with Covid-19 while it transitions into the endemic stage.
Its President, Tan Sri T C Goh emphasised that at this transition stage, it is important that the Chinese community and organisations continue to strictly comply with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Government, while carrying out their daily affairs, social activities and programmes, in order to prevent another outbreak of the deadly virus.
He stressed this in his speech while officiating an online health forum themed “With The Nation Moving Into the Endemic Stage of Covid-19How To Better Prepare To Coexist with Covid-19?” organised by the Sungai Long Specialist Hospital (SLSH) yesterday. The speaker for the talk was SLSH’s Resident Physician, Dr Wong Jun Yet. Also in attendance were Huazong Secretary-General, Datuk Dr Wong Aik Loung, SLSH CEO, Dr. Aw Tai Jak. The forum was chaired by Datuk Lee Teck Hua, Huazong Central Committee member.
Goh noted that since the Covid-19 outbreak hit Malaysia in December 2019, Chinese organisations in the country had shifted most of their activities and programmes online; and in the event that they had to conduct their activities physically in person, such as the annual general meeting (AGM), they made sure that SOPs like social distancing, wearing of face mask and disinfection of the venue were strictly complied with.
He reiterated that as long as “we need to co-exist with the virus, Chinese organisations must continue to comply with the government-mandated SOPs. This includes using the MySejahtera App to keep track of one’s visit to various places, taking of body temperature, using the Covid-19 self-test kit to conduct a self test, and to immediately conduct self quarantine if tested positive.”
He noted that Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang had recently disclosed that the Government has decided that there are seven indicators to declare that Covid-19 is in the endemic stage. They included fewer than 1,200 cases and fewer than 10 deaths per day, hospital beds occupation rate of 30% and less than 10% of occupation rate in intensive care units (ICUs), and for low risk quarantine and treatment centers to cease operations.
Goh thus said the fact that the daily Covid-19 cases in the country were still hovering between 4,000 to 5,000 cases and the hospital beds occupation rate was above 50% showed that the country have yet to reach the endemic stage.
He nonetheless opined that Malaysians, the Chinese community included, must start preparing themselves to embrace the Covid-19 endemic stage, citing that the Government has started to facilitate administration of vaccine booster shots for the population, as well as making necessary preparations for children aged 12 and below to get vaccinated.
He acknowledged that the devastating impact of Covid-19 pandemic, whose worldwide death toll has surpassed 5 million, has essentially made people realise that health is the only thing that really matters.
He further acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet and the world must continue to take necessary and effective measures to coexist with the deadly virus.
“This includes continuing to develop vaccines which are more advanced and effective,” he said.
Besides this, he also paid his tribute to all the frontliners who have been combating the deadly virus since its outbreak two years ago.
Meanwhile, Dr Wong in his talk explained that like dengue and tuberculosis, which are currently listed among the endemic diseases in Malaysia, once Covid-19 becomes endemic, the people still need to adopt necessary measures to co-exist with it.
He said the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 was a good example of human’s coexistence with the deadly virus, following the development of antibodies in the human body in South America, the virus still contributed to between 40,000 to 50,000 deaths each year.
He attributed the continued existence of Covid-19 to such factors like the emergence of its variants, existence of unvaccinated carriers, vaccines supply issue, and the fact that vaccination does not last forever.
He pointed out that vaccination only lasts between five to six months and a booster shot is needed subsequently. It is also uncertain as to how many booster shots are needed to maintain the antibody to safeguard against the virus.
He acknowledged that although the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has dropped to between 4,000 and 5,000 cases daily, it is still not fully under control.
He also expressed concern that the reopening of Malaysia to allow foreign visitors to come in may result in emergence of Covid-19 variants in the country, and the ongoing election campaigns in Melaka may contribute to a rebound of the outbreak, especially if SOPs are not strictly complied with.
“To better coexist with the virus, one must strive to maintain good health and this includes exercising regularly, proper treatment and management of one’s pre-existing chronic health issues, such as, diabetes, high-blood pressure, obesity etc, besides continuing to comply with the SOPs,” he said.