PUTRAJAYA: The health ministry will not consider proposals for “green bubbles” that allow factory workers who are asymptomatic but undergoing quarantine to return to work, said health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Noor Hisham said this was because there was still a possibility they could test positive within the 14-day incubation period.
“If they return to work, they can infect the whole factory as well,” he said. “We will not allow them a ‘green bubble’ to work during the quarantine period.”
He said the ministry had learned its lesson from the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah, in which a restaurant owner had breached quarantine rules and infected others at his premises.
Negotiations with 10 companies for more vaccines
Commenting on the government’s progress in procuring more Covid-19 vaccines, Noor Hisham said early stage negotiations were currently under way with 10 companies.
“There is a big possibility one of them will release its report on its phase three clinical trials next week.
“We are still waiting to read it but, most importantly, the vaccine must be registered by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA),” he said.
Noor Hisham added that the government was working towards guaranteeing a supply of vaccines to avoid any shortages, similar to the lack of personal protective equipment and ventilators that arose after the second wave of the pandemic.
He also said the vaccine would only be issued once it was approved by the FDA and NPRA, failure of which will result in the cancellation of any vaccine agreements.
Last week, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government had signed an agreement with pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Nov 24 to procure 12.8 million doses of the vaccine, which can immunise 6.4 million Malaysians.
He had said one million doses would be delivered in the first quarter of next year, followed by 1.7 million, 5.8 million and 4.3 million doses in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2021 respectively.
CLICK HERE FOR OUR LIVE UPDATE OF THE COVID-19 SITUATION IN MALAYSIA