• Wartawan Nabalu News

Implement evidence-based policies for NRP, govt urged


11 Aug 2021

By Wartawan Nabalu News


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Health Coalition has called on the Federal Government implement evidence-bases policies for the National Recovery Plan (NRP).


The coalition said it's important that the government publicise its evidence and projections and explain the rationale for such decisions so that the people will not be left guessing on the aspect of health security.


"Markers of the National Recovery Plan must be grounded in science and must be predictable.


"Although the pandemic is dynamic, changing the NRP markers too frequently and without good explanations may lead to concerns that decisions are political instead of evidence-based," they said in a statement today.


The coalition also urged the government to review the recently implemented relaxation on movement restrictions for fully-vaccinated persons.


Instead, it suggested that the relaxed restrictions should be postponed to a timepoint defined by strict evidence.


They explained that the decision is premature at this point in time as only 27 per cent of the resident population of all ages are fully vaccinated, excluding undocumented migrants.


"Chile only relaxed restrictions after 50 per cent overage, and Singapore is targeting relaxed restrictions at 70 per cent coverage.


"There is also vaccine inequality in Malaysia - the 27 per cent average hides a wide range, from 12 per cent in Sabah to 59 per cent in Labuan.


"Indeed, only five regions are above 27 per cent, namely Labuan, Sarawak, Negeri Sembilan, Lembah Klang and Perlis."


Another factor that should be taken into account before the relaxation is Covid-19 daily cases are still high and that intensive care units, general hospital wards, Emergency Departments and quarantine centres are over utilised.


"These indices are currently not publicly available at a granular level, and must be used to guide the NRP.


"The Delta variant is likely the dominant variant in Malaysia although genomic testing remains low. The Delta variant s more transmissible than the wild-type SARS-CoV-2, and current vaccines have reduced effectiveness against Delta."


Breakthrough infections in vaccinated persons may be as transmissible as unvaccinated persons, they added.


Furthermore, the coalition also proposed that the government clarify the specifics of these relaxed restrictions as blanket vaccine privileges will create loopholes that will impede the NRP.


"For example, the government must answer questions like: What is the rationale to allow home quarantine for vaccinated travellers, how long is the quarantine, and how will we monitor?


"How do we close the loopholes that may allow 'inter-state vacations on the pretext of visiting our children'?"