Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Govt mulling further easing of SOPs once booster programme complete, says PM

But Ismail Sabri Yaakob says this will depend on the health ministry's recommendations.

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The government is mulling a further relaxation of the SOPs once the Covid-19 vaccination process in the country, including the administration of booster doses, is complete, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.

However, he said this would depend on the recommendations and advice from the health ministry.

“When the people are fully vaccinated and have received their booster doses, I believe we can give a little more relaxation on the SOPs, but this will depend on the health ministry’s recommendations,” he said when addressing the Prime Minister’s Department staff in Putrajaya.

He also said that overly rigid SOPs would affect the tourism industry.

While the domestic tourism sector has been reopened, he said, foreign tourists are still not allowed to enter the country, and wage subsidies are still being given to tourism industry players.

The prime minister said some countries had also relaxed their SOPs for foreign tourists, and that this was something for Malaysia to consider.

“That’s why we feel that if the people have received their booster doses, we can relax the SOPs a little more,” he said.

Ismail said at the moment, the government was still being cautious about reopening the country’s borders.

He said even though the Malaysia-Singapore Vaccination Travel Lane (VTL) initiative had begun and VTL discussions with Indonesia and Thailand had been initiated, the increasing number of Covid-19 cases overseas had caused Malaysia to continue its suspension of international travel.

He said the reopening of the international tourism industry would help revive the economy and make the situation better for everybody in the country.

He also reiterated that the government does not plan to impose another movement control order (MCO) to restrict the movements of the people and the business sector.

“There have been rumours that people cannot go back to their hometown (during Hari Raya) and that the business sector will be closed (again).

“I have announced before that there will be no MCO or travel restrictions during Aidilfitri this year,” he said.

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