Khairy: Massive traffic at malls ahead of Aidilfitri

Govt reschedules 2,800 Astra vaccination appointments at WTC to allow for tighter implementation of physical distancing

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THERE has been massive traffic at shopping malls leading up to Aidilfitri, which resulted in it being listed under the Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE).

“HIDE deals with locations registered on MySejahtera and obviously there will be blind spots where MySejahtera registrations are not complied with. That is why we are always highlighting the importance of check-ins through MySejahtera,” Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said in a virtual press conference yesterday.

“Although there are blind spots in the systems, it does not mean that shopping malls are not hotspots. There have been huge activities and footfalls at shopping malls leading up to the Hari Raya celebration.”

According to Khairy, locations that are not covered by MySejahtera are covered by the groundwork done by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Retailers have asked the ministry to suspend revealing any more information derived from HIDE until clear, accurate and precise basis accompanies the information to be released.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) urged the government to conduct mass antigen rapid test kits (RTK) screenings in the hotspots areas identified under HIDE.

MMA president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said as the MoH has confirmed the high community transmission, targeted mass screenings in the identified areas should be done to allow for early detection and prevent further spreading.

“Vaccinations en masse should also be considered to interrupt transmission in hotspots. We would not know the true extent of community spread until we test the community for prevalence,” he said.

“It should be noted that the majority of foreign workers tested since the end of last year were not close contacts but when screened, several were found to be Covid-19 positive.”

Dr Subramaniam said it is impractical to wait for people to show symptoms as the government could conduct mass testing and isolate positive individuals to ease close contact tracing.

On a separate matter, Khairy said plans for immunisation programmes for the public sector are still underway as the government is still focusing on inoculating vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with comorbidities and disabled groups.

“We have made engagement with the International Trade and Industry Ministry and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers on the public-private partnership on the immunisation programmes, but we have yet to announce the rollout.

“Our priority now is for Phase 2 to run smoothly for the elderly and people with comorbidities, as well as people with disabilities.”

The government is also looking at private immunisation models for business travellers at the moment to cater to groups who are required to frequently travel overseas.

Due to the Movement Control Order, the government is rescheduling about 2,800 appointments under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for the AstraZeneca vaccine at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (WTC) to allow for a tighter implementation of physical distancing.

The readjustments will affect appointments set on May 15 and May 16, which will be rescheduled to a later date between May 17 and May 23.

“We are reducing about 2,800 appointments from the WTC’s current capacity of 19,000 people to accommodate only 16,200 for both days, or 8,100 on each day, taking into consideration the physical and social distancing practices.

“The affected appointments will be notified through messages or MySejahtera app. We want to ensure that the vaccine dispensing centre will have a safe environment.”

As of yesterday, 19,718 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines have been distributed through the voluntary programme, utilised for the first dose.

The country’s second supply of the AstraZeneca vaccines is expected to arrive on May 20, while the third will be on June 1 for a total of 615,120 single-delivery doses.