Covid-19 will be around for next 2 years, says special adviser on public health

Dr Jemilah Mahmood, special adviser to the prime minister on public health, says Malaysia must continue to conduct aggressive tracing, quarantine and treatment. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The special adviser to the prime minister on public health today said the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed 103 lives and infected over 6,000 in Malaysia, will not end for the next two years.

But, while Dr Jemilah Mahmood said there would be “small spikes”, the nation should not panic but instead conduct aggressive tracing, quarantine and treatment.

An area which witnesses a spike in such cases, she said, should be placed under an enhanced movement control order immediately and individuals living there should be quarantined.

Jemilah said enforcement will be important to ensure compliance, not only from the government but also self enforcement, including individuals, communities, companies.

“Pandemics will end only when the whole of society participates and is empowered. If you see something, say something. Report to the police,” she said in a statement.

She said Malaysians will need to live with Covid just as “we need to live with dengue”, adding that a vaccine will only be available earliest next year.

“The new normal is a reality. Stay home as much as you can. Keep a safe distance and wear a mask,” she said.

Jemilah also said that movement control orders were not aimed at ending Covid-19, but to flatten the curve, which Malaysia has done.

“We flatten the curve to ensure health systems are protected and able to cope.”

The country’s health system, she said, is able to cope with the pandemic, noting that the utilisation capacity now stands at 30%.

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