Malaysia can’t afford lockdowns, says health minister

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia cannot afford to take the same approach as China in handling the Covid-19 pandemic by implementing lockdowns in the country.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this was because lockdowns posed economic implications and would affect the people’s welfare.

“Malaysia cannot afford lockdowns in terms of the economy and the people’s welfare. Our strategy is mitigation.

“This means that we manage positive cases effectively, increasing vaccination, adhering to the standard operating procedures, #TRIIS (test, report, inform, isolate and seek) so death rates, intensive care unit usage and hospital admissions reduce,” he said on his Twitter today.

He was responding to criticisms by Bintulu member of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing on his and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Khairy had admitted that China’s approach, as raised by Tiong, was effective in controlling the pandemic, but the country’s strategy of zero-Covid meant a movement restriction would be implemented in full even if there were only three positive cases.

In his tweet, Khairy also defended Dr Noor Hisham in carrying out his responsibilities.

“Dr Noor Hisham has my full support to carry out his duties as Malaysia’s Health director-general,” he stressed.

Tiong, in a Facebook post earlier today, had questioned whether Khairy had a clear strategy to face the worst case scenario, while praising China’s methods in handling the outbreak.

He had also questioned whether Dr Noor Hisham was the best person to lead the country’s efforts in fighting the Omicron variant, as Dr Noor Hisham was a surgeon and not a public health specialist.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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