Infectious disease expert Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman has cautioned against Health Minister Dr Adham Baba’s suggestion that the three-day quarantine period for ministers may be extended to business travellers or the public in the future.
“I don’t think this is a good idea at all. We might as well have no quarantine at all,” said Adeeba, who is part of the Selangor task force for Covid-19 committee (STFC).
Responding to complaints of double standards, Adham said his order to shorten the quarantine period from 10 to three days for ministers was only a start and might be expanded to others as the economy was hurting.
Adeeba said people understood the need to reopen the economy but that can only be achieved by addressing the root cause – bringing the pandemic under control.
“The 10-day rule is there for a reason. It is based on what we now know about the virus, the period of transmission risk, how the disease presents.
“Furthermore, there is global concern regarding the development of variants and what impact this would have on the current vaccines.
“So indiscriminate opening up of the borders is also not a good idea. Choosing the economy over health or vice versa is a false dichotomy,” she said on Twitter.
Adeeba also added to calls for the government to make decisions based on science.
Several MPs yesterday demanded that the government explain what scientific basis there was to allow ministers to quarantine for only three days.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), barring outliers, the normal Covid-19 incubation period ranges from two to 10 days.
There is a race to vaccinate the world population amid fears that the virus could mutate as it spreads.
Malaysia will receive its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines at the end of this month, and the vaccination process will start in March.
Already, there are concerns that some vaccines may become ineffective against mutated Covid-19 variants.
South Africa this week put AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine programme on hold after data showed it gave minimal protection to a variant of the virus in the country.
South African authorities later said they would roll out the vaccination process in a “stepped manner” to observe preliminary results. – Malaysiakini
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