Dr Sim: Lockdown takes an instant flip of the switch, but SOP relaxation must be in stages

File photo of Dr Sim addressing the press at the entrance of the old DUN Complex here today (July 1, 2021).

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, July 1: A Covid-19 lockdown is like flipping a switch where everything is turned off instantly, but the relaxation of the standard operating procedures (SOP) can only be done as a gradual process.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the opening of businesses and industries cannot be instant, but should be done in phases.

“I understand there is a lot of suffering. When we went into lockdown, it’s like flipping off a switch then everything turns off.

“But when you open up, it’s not like flipping the switch on and opening everything straightaway. It’s more like turning on the tap slowly, and that’s why we call it Phase One, Phase Two and so on until Phase Four,” he said.

Referring to the movement control under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), he said Phase Four which sees the full reopening of the economy will eventually happen but the nation has to go through Phase Two and Three first.

Malaysia, including Sarawak, is currently still in Phase One of the NRP and for it to step into the second phase, three conditions must be met which are the daily Covid-19 cases nationwide dropping below 4,000, rate of bed use in ICUs returning to ‘moderate’ levels, and 10 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.

Dr Sim, who is also Minister for Local Government and Housing, said the last thing that the government wants is for certain groups of businesses to be allowed to open today and later instructed to close tomorrow.

This, he said, would only cost “more Sarawakian lives” if such a situation where businesses open and close regularly drags on.

“Of course, in Phase Four, it’s very much like (the end of) last year where schools were open and people were allowed to visit supermarkets, shopping malls and have social gatherings. It will happen.

“It’s not that we don’t want to open up (more businesses). The last thing we want is to open today, close tomorrow, open again, and close again.

“If we drag on like this, we will only end up losing more Sarawakian lives,” he said after the flag-off of the Delivery Hope by Rotary Club Bintulu Central and Latter-day Saints (LDS) Charities in front of the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.

The flag-off ceremony was held to launch the delivery of 11,050 personal protective equipment (PPEs) and 30,000 KN95 face masks to hospitals in four districts starting with Kuching today, then Bintulu, Sibu and Miri.

Among those also present at the ceremony were LDS Charities US representative President Sulai, Rotary Club RI District 3310 Director Andre Suharto, Rotary Club Bintulu Central president Allen Wong and secretary Linnie Lee. — DayakDaily