New infections maybe ditched as threshold indicator under NRP

Tengku Zafrul

THE government is looking into dropping new daily Covid-19 infections as a threshold indicator under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), in favour of severity of cases or death rate.

NRP Coordinating Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said this proposal had been raised at the National Security Council (NSC), Bernama reported.

“The NRP is dynamic. If cases have decreased and they are only mild symptomatic cases, the number of new cases is no longer an appropriate threshold value, we will look at the case capacity in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and the mortality rate.

“This matter is being discussed with the MOH (Health Ministry) to change it to a more appropriate threshold value, especially in the third phase, when we have managed to vaccinate 40 per cent of the country’s adult population,” he said during the Agenda Awani talkshow programme last night.

Tengku Zafrul, who is also Finance Minister, said the proposed changes were based on experiences in other countries such as the United Kingdom, which recorded a sharp drop in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions after more than 40 per cent of the population had been vaccinated.

“Therefore, when 40 per cent of our people are fully vaccinated, we will ask the National Recovery Council (MPN) to consider this matter.

“However, the consideration is subject to the views of the relevant experts,” he said.

Over 46 per cent of Malaysians have received at least one dose of vaccine as of yesterday, while 21.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

The government had earlier announced that the country would transition to Phase 2 of the NRP if its daily new infections drop to 4,000 a day, 10 per cent of the population had been vaccinated and the use of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in hospital was no longer at critical capacity.

Subsequently, states which had met these criteria based on the proportion of their population to the national figure, were allowed to transition to Phase 2. Five states, including Sarawak are now in Phase 2.