By Rohani Mohd Ibrahim
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 (Bernama) -- Malaysia’s two-year fight against the COVID-19 pandemic showcased how Malaysians of various races and religions came together in the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia to overcome the challenge, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.
According to him, Malaysians, including Health Ministry staff, showed the true meaning behind this year’s National Month theme ‘Teguh Bersama’ when the country was tested by the global pandemic, even during the early days of 2020 when the first infections began occurring here.
“The ministry staff’s resilience, earnestness and sacrifice, along with those from various other agencies, and the amazing response from ordinary Malaysians (towards ministry initiatives) formed the basis of our country’s success in continuously controlling the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The spirit of Teguh Bersama was among the factors that drove our country’s success (against COVID-19) through compliance and acceptance of various government initiatives till the country is able to be in the Transition to Endemic Phase currently and the resumption of the National Day 2022 parade at Merdeka Square this Aug 31,” he told Bernama via email recently.
Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry appreciated the wholehearted support shown by Malaysians towards public health recommendations, programmes and initiatives and their attitude and commitment were signs of their strong patriotic spirit and belief in the Rukun Negara.
“Let’s celebrate our 65th National Day this Aug 31 happily. May all of us remain strong together as a Malaysian Family. Continue to protect yourselves, your families and your communities from the threat of COVID-19, dengue fever and other infectious diseases and remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“For ministry staff and other health officers and volunteers, no matter where you are, do your best sincerely, and thank you all, our country’s heroes and heroines who loyally attend to your duties as frontliners and also who support us behind the scenes in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
According to Dr Noor Hisham, health frontliners serve as our country’s fighters in providing COVID-19 vaccines and treating COVID-19 patients at various government and private health facilities throughout the country.
He also invited Malaysians to pray for the (COVID-19) situation in the country to remain stable and improve.
Dr Noor Hisham’s role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic was acknowledged by the World Health Organisation in September 2020, and Malaysia was viewed as a country that had a strong healthcare system and solid foundations to fight the pandemic.
The first COVID-19 case in Malaysia was confirmed on Jan 25, 2020, and led to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18 that year. The country would endure several phases of movement control before interstate travel was finally allowed again in October 2021 and the reopening of our borders on April 1 this year.
In conjunction with National Day 2022, Dr Noor Hisham advised the public to continue wearing face masks in crowded areas even though they are no longer mandatory in open spaces to reduce the risk of infections in places where physical distancing is hard to maintain.
He also asked the public to conduct COVID-19 self-assessments and to isolate themselves if they had symptoms even if they tested negative using COVID-19 self-test kits.
“It could be that the test failed to detect (COVID-19) at the initial stages. Self-isolation will help stop the spread of other respiratory tract diseases like influenza,” he added.
He also expressed his thanks and excitement at the strong support shown by Malaysians towards the Tobacco Product and Smoking Control Bill 2022 and the ministry’s aim of creating a Generation End Game for smoking by 2040.
“Many have strongly supported and there are also many quiet supporters in what we call the silent majority who have high hopes that the amended bill will be approved in the future,” he added.
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