Saturday, October 16, 2021

Health ministry ready with SOPs for Melaka election

But Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says it is up to the Cabinet to decide whether an election will be held.

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Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says SOPs have been prepared in the event that a state election is held in Melaka, and that his ministry is ready to discuss these with the Election Commission if the polls are given the go-ahead.

However, he said the health ministry is still waiting for a Cabinet decision on the matter.

“We have given our views regarding the SOPs for the election and will leave it to the Cabinet to decide whether the election will continue or not.

“If it is held, then the ministry already has our views on certain SOPs that need to be taken into account by the EC. But it is still too early for us to make an announcement,” he told reporters today.

The EC received official notification of the dissolution of the 14th Melaka state legislative assembly on Monday from state assembly speaker Ab Rauf Yusoh, following the move by four assemblymen to withdraw their support for Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali, triggering the collapse of state government led by Barisan Nasional.

Meanwhile, Khairy said the health ministry had given the green light for the administration of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots which will begin next week with Sarawak as the first state to begin the initiative.

He said the booster shot had also been approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division, the Drug Control Authority and the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply.

“We can start giving the booster shot to those who are eligible by next week… we will look at the delivery of supplies,” he said.

Khairy had previously said that priority would be given to the vulnerable or high-risk groups, including individuals aged 60 and above as well as those with serious comorbidities.

In another development, he said the government was considering procuring antiviral drugs for Covid-19 treatment from several pharmaceutical companies, including from India.

He said the authorities would ensure that the antiviral drugs were safe and effective.

In the meantime, he described the decision to allow interstate travel once the country’s vaccination rate reaches 90% for adults as the right move.

“If we do not allow them to travel interstate, it will also cause various problems such as mental and emotional stress. There are many who have not been able to visit their families and parents for a year,” he said.

Khairy said if the country were to wait for up to 70% of the entire population to be vaccinated, the people would have to wait longer for state borders to reopen as 20% of Malaysians comprise those aged below 12.

“There is no vaccine for children at the moment, it has not yet been approved by any regulator including the Food and Drug Administration.

“If we want to wait until the entire population is vaccinated, it would probably take until next year before we can allow interstate travel,” he said.

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