Exiting lockdown cycle via vaccines

Dr John Chew (top row, centre) with others during the webinar.

KUCHING: The upcoming vaccination exercise will result in the country’s exit from its repetitive lockdown cycles, said former Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr John Chew.

“A strict lockdown rocks the virus of its oxygen. Through containment and mitigation, we have seen countries which have done well.

“But now, instead of having cycles of lockdown, with restrictions and subsequent relaxations, we now have a way out with the vaccines,” he said during a webinar on Covid-19 Vaccination and Impact on Sarawak’s Businesses yesterday.

Chew said with the vaccines, green zones will have to be established where a larger area is broken down to more manageable units.

“From there, we’ll go for zero cases which would allow the people to move freely to form green bubbles and travel lanes,” he said.

The vaccine rollout is highly anticipated as it has a good efficacy and safety record which decreased Covid-19 transmissions, he pointed out.

Chew said in the meantime, it was the responsibility of the general population to understand Covid-19 to prevent super spreader events which had occurred during large gatherings.

“This is where we have to apply total compliance with our standard operating procedures (SOPs); it is the collective responsibility of the community to ensure these events do not take place.

“But one way we can reopen our economy is through small green bubbles; Sweden is one of it and as long as they are vaccinated, the risk is less.

“We can establish a testing regime on whether it is safe to move around, so we have to increase our testing,” he said.

Regardless, he said health is bedrock of society, and it is difficult to focus on anything else given the worry of catching a deadly disease.

“Health must be in every sector; discussion of economic activities during Covid-19 must include health priority as we are part of a global community and if we don’t address this virus at the global level, we are not going control this pandemic.”