Govt gears up preparedness for future pandemics – Tengku Zafrul

Govt gears up preparedness for future pandemics – Tengku Zafrul

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 – The government is mulling several measures to strengthen the healthcare system’s resiliency and preparedness for future pandemics, while meeting the longer-term challenges of an ageing population and non-communicable diseases.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said several policy measures are being studied, including putting in place an “always on” system and partnerships that can be rapidly scaled during pandemics.

“The government is also looking into strengthening national and local mechanisms to detect infectious disease to stop transmissions at an early stage; ensuring the health system’s readiness to handle surges in cases while maintaining essential services; and developing an integrated epidemic-prevention agenda.

“Such reforms will ensure the protection of lives and livelihoods while keeping the economy open for business,” he said in a special address during the virtually-held National Recovery Summit today.

Going forward, Tengku Zafrul said achieving a target level of population immunity is a key enabler in Malaysia’s path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Sept 7, more than 20 million people or 89 per cent of the country's adult population have received their COVID-19 vaccination dose, including 16 million people who are now fully vaccinated.

“Insya Allah (God willing), we are well on our way to have 80 per cent of the adult population fully vaccinated by end of September, and 100 per cent by end of October.

“After that, we will start living with COVID-19 as an endemic disease,” he said.

So far, he said Malaysia have seen its efforts bear fruit, as the number of COVID-19 cases which required hospitalisations and admission into Intensive Care Units continue to decline.

“This is especially true in parts of the country where more than 60 per cent of the adult population have been fully vaccinated.

“As Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya transition to Phase Two on Sept 10, we will allow the resumption of more economic activities which will spur the nation’s economic recovery,” he said.