KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — Malaysians, especially those who have been fully vaccinated, should not be too complacent and neglect the standard operating procedure (SOP) and self-discipline so as to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This is crucial as the disease is not only spreading but has spawned several other more dangerous mutations, especially the Delta variant that has been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Variant of Concern (VOC). 

Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said Malaysians should understand and accept that even though there were vaccines to protect them from the virus, the Delta variant was still very much a healthcare threat not only in the country but globally.

“Everyone should understand that, although 80 per cent of the adult population will be vaccinated and we will achieve herd immunity, COVID-19 will still be around even at a low level like other existing diseases.

“Those who have been fully vaccinated still can be infected by the virus, but its effects will be less severe compared to those who are not vaccinated, so SOP compliance and self-discipline must be adopted for everyone’s protection,” he said when contacted today.

He said the best way to protect oneself was not only to be vaccinated but also to comply with the SOP and have self-discipline, including wearing face masks and avoiding crowded places to reduce the possibility of infection.

In July, the WHO predicted that the Delta variant, which has a high infection rate, had been detected in at least 111 countries, regions or areas and has the possibility to become the dominant COVID-19 strain globally, thus, causing a rise in cases and new deaths.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had previously announced that, as of Aug 17, 690 cases involving VOCs were detected in Malaysia, with 467 of them being the Delta variant, adding that the latest studies had shown that the variant could breed in the nose of a fully vaccinated individual, just like it would in an unvaccinated individual.

Dr Zainal Ariffin said the government’s move to provide more exemptions and reopen various sectors showed that it trusted Malaysians to be able to do the right thing and protect each other from COVID-19.

“Although we’ve been vaccinated, there are still others who are at risk of suffering severely if they are infected, like children, individuals who can’t be vaccinated or even the anti-vaccination group.

“Technically, it is impossible to reach zero infection, but the goal of vaccination is to reduce the spread of the disease and effects of infection on individuals,” he said.


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