By Mei Kuan
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin held a live media conference on the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Health during his work visit to Hospital Kuala Lumpur today (October 7).
He spoke on the vital role of the 151-year-old hospital in handling the pandemic and its ongoing developmental project plans to improve its service and clinical research for the welfare of the people, especially the residents of Klang Valley.
The minister then proceeded to address various questions from the press.
According to him, discussion is ongoing with the Ministry of Domestic Trade And Consumer Affairs to further lower the price of the self-test kit.
“We will announce the recommended price ceiling which is fair to both consumers and suppliers in the near future,” he stated.
Khairy also pointed out that it is impossible to control the travel movement of those unvaccinated when the interstate travel ban is lifted in a few more days: “It is impossible to check everyone and make those unvaccinated do a self-test on the spot as there will no longer be roadblocks. We do not want too many SOPs on interstate travel as many have waited too long for the freedom to return to their hometown. Now it’s all about self-control and empowerment of the individual as well as community.”
However, he stressed that the existing Standard Operating Procedures by the National Security Council (MKN) will remain effective.
“For example, according to SOPs, the unvaccinated cannot dine-in in food premises. Let’s say if the unvaccinated cross state to return home, they are not granted the freedom to dine-in,” he explained.
“Thus the ‘Ops Patuh’ operation by the police will be continued to enforce existing SOPs at food premises among others,” he added.
“Be sensible. If you wish to be truly safe and ensure you do not bring back the virus, do a self-test,” he urged.
Regarding the recently signed letter of undertaking with Merck to procure the Molnupiravir anti-viral treatment for COVID-19, Khairy said that the purchase was necessary as breakthrough infections are still happening despite high vaccination rates.
“It is to treat those who display symptoms for five days, as well as cases of infection in 3, 4 and 5 categories that need to be admitted. As a start, we obtain pills for a total of 150,000 patients based on case estimation. It will be given for free in public facilities,” he shared.
Meanwhile, he assured that the booster dose will not affect one’s status as fully vaccinated: “We will offer the booster dose for eligible groups beginning with the elderly, medical frontliners, those with comorbidities and the immunocompromised. It’s not mandatory but highly recommended to these groups after 6 months from the second dose.”