COVID SOP Malaysia August 2021 Updates
Malaysia has gone through several changes in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since its introduction in March 2020. There’s been a lot of confusion given that the COVID SOP is quite extensive and many are confused (or at least they claim to be confused) about what these SOPs are, and to this day there have been at least five major changes to the SOPs based on the dangerously high number of daily COVID cases in the country. In this article, we will be covering and summarising the latest COVID SOP developments as announced by the government on 8 August 2021.
The National Recovery Plan (NRP) has set out four phases for the states and Federal Territories of Malaysia. The COVID SOP for each phase is different in response to the severity of the infection in the particular state. Originally when the NRP was first revealed on 15 June 2021, these phases were for the entire country and set to change depending on several factors such as intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy levels, vaccination rates and, most importantly, daily case averages. On 3 July, this was changed so that the change in phases would be applied at the state level rather than the national level. At the national level, it required daily COVID cases to fall to below 4,000 cases before moving to phase 2, which was optimistic given that Malaysia reached a record-high (at the time) of 9,020 daily cases on 29 May 2021 before steadily declining until 4,611 cases on 21 June 2021, only to then increase so sharply that we saw two consecutive days of over 20,000 daily cases each day, the vast majority of which came from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. On 5 August, the Malaysian government has announced that they are no longer relying on daily COVID case numbers for the phase change; only vaccination rates and ICU occupancy would be considered. “Once 40% of adults have been vaccinated, the number of new cases becomes less relevant because most cases show little to no symptoms, hence reducing the burden on public infrastructure,” said Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), 98.1% of the cases showed light to zero symptoms.
On 8 August 2021, then Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that fully vaccinated individuals—those who have received the second dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose; those who received the Johnson & Johnson or CanSino single-dose vaccines are considered fully vaccinated after 28 days—are allowed inter-district and interstate travel for long-distance couples, as well as being allowed to perform religious activities in the respective houses of worship.
On 19 August 2021, caretaker Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced that, beginning 20 August, all fully vaccinated individuals in states under Phase 1 are allowed to dine in, go camping, engage in individual and no-contact sports outdoors, as well as go to pasar malam.
With that being said, here are the list of states and Federal Territories by each phase:
Johor, Kedah, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya
Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Penang, Terengganu, Sabah
Perlis, Sarawak, Labuan
No state or Federal Territory has achieved this phase yet thus far. It is a phase for all states and Federal Territories to look forward to.
From the inception of the COVID SOP introduced in March last year, travel has been restricted to within 10km from one’s residence, and both inter-district and inter-state travel are restricted, let alone international travel. The NRP introduced a change in the COVID SOP, in that it now allows inter-district and inter-state travel for married couples who are fully vaccinated (received both doses of the vaccine), as well as fully vaccinated parents to children below 18 years, but both cases would require permission from PDRM
In phase 2, the same travel restrictions apply, except fully vaccinated individuals are now allowed to travel to other districts.
Phase 3 sees all travel distance limitations and restrictions on inter-district travel lifted for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Phase 4 is where inter-state travel is finally allowed again for all individuals, while travelling to other countries is subject to risk assessment and agreement between countries.
From the beginning of the COVID SOP of MCO 1.0, Malaysians have had to stay at home and were not allowed to dine-in at any cafe or restaurant or mamak. This led to a lot of stress for both patrons and restaurateurs. At phase 1, only takeaway and deliveries are allowed. No dine-ins allowed except for fully vaccinated individuals.
Phase 2 allows fully vaccinated individuals to dine-in at restaurants at 50% table capacity, but social distancing and SOP compliance (e.g. wearing a face mask, registering on the MySejahtera app and checking your temperature at the entrance) are still in place.
Dine-in is allowed for all, with a minimum 1-metre physical distancing.
Dine-in is allowed subject to social distancing.
This is another contributor of stress to parents as all educational institutions are closed. Parents have to cope with taking care of their children at home 24/7 in addition to working from home, while students who are using online learning for the first time may find its effectiveness not up to par with in-person learning, especially with the limitations on physical demonstrations and activities.
At phase 2, only exam classes are allowed to return to school.
Phase 3 sees the reopening of all educational institutions, while institutions under the Ministry of Education (MOE) will reopen by stages, subject to risk assessments and the decision by the MOE.
Phase 4 will see the continued reopening of all educational institutions, subject to the current risk assessment.
Sports activities have been severely hit by the COVID SOP, where almost all outdoor activities were banned, including jogging. Fortunately, the NRP has revised the restrictions imposed, so now jogging, cycling and individual exercising are allowed, provided that physical distancing is practised and that this all takes place only in the neighbourhood. Fully vaccinated individuals, however, are also allowed to perform non-contact sports in open or semi-open areas like singles badminton or skateboarding with physical distancing, but a curfew of 6 am to 10 pm is imposed for such activities.
At phase 2, outdoor non-contact sports are allowed within a 10km radius from home, but the standard SOP of mask-wearing, MySejahtera registration and temperature taking still applies.
Phase 3 allows all non-contact sports for all individuals, subject to the SOP.
Finally, phase 4 allows all sports, both non-contact and contact like basketball and football, still subject to the SOP.
Unfortunately, no information regarding the reopening of cinemas and karaoke centres is available in the NRP SOP at the time of writing.
Given that there are all these extra benefits to being fully vaccinated in addition to getting better protection against COVID-19, as well as vaccination rates being a key factor in allowing a state or Federal Territory to enter the next phase of the NRP, Malaysians should get vaccinated as fast as they can. If you have not registered for your vaccine, you should definitely register now to get vaccinated as soon as possible. For more information on the NRP COVID SOP for individuals as well as businesses in other areas such as religion, marriage, and other services, kindly refer to the National Recovery Plan Official Portal and choose your state for the relevant info. The following table has been prepared to help summarise the above info according to phase level.
|Phase 1||Johor, Kedah, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya||– All movement is limited to a 10km travel radius from one’s residence|
– Inter-district, inter-state and international travel not allowed
For fully vaccinated individuals:
– Inter-district and inter-state travel allowed only for married couples and parents to children below 18 years old; requires permission from PDRM
– Citizens and non-citizens who have a residence in Malaysia and have arrived from abroad may have their compulsory quarantine at home
|– Only takeaways and deliveries allowed|
For fully vaccinated individuals:
– Dine-in allowed; fully vaccinated parents who wish to take their children below 17 years to dine-in are also allowed to do so with social distancing and standard SOP: wearing face mask, registering on the MySejahtera app and checking temperature at the entrance
|– All educational institutions are closed|
– All learning activities to be conducted virtually
|– Only jogging, cycling and exercising individually allowed with physical distancing and within the neighbourhood area|
For fully vaccinated individuals:
– Non-contact sports in open/semi-open areas allowed without radius limits and with social distancing from 6 am to 10 pm
|Phase 2||Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Penang, Terengganu, Sabah||For fully vaccinated individuals:|
– Inter-district travel allowed
– Inter-state travel allowed only for married couples and parents to children below 18 years old; requires permission from PDRM
|For fully vaccinated individuals:|
– Dine-in allowed at 50% capacity with social distancing and standard SOP
|– Only exam classed are allowed to return to school||– Outdoor non-contact sports allowed within a 10km radius from home subject to SOP|
|Phase 3||Perlis, Sarawak, Labuan||– No travel limit|
– Inter-district travel allowed for all
|– Dine-in allowed for all with 1-metre physical distancing||– All educational institutions reopened to all; institutions under the Ministry of Education (MoE) will open on a case-by-case basis|
– Face-to-face learning activities allowed, subject to 70% student capacity limits and SOP if by higher education institutions
|– All non-contact sports allowed for all individuals, subject to SOP|
|Phase 4||–||– Inter-state travel allowed for all|
– International travel on a case-by-case basis
|– Dine-in allowed for all individuals, with social distancing||– All educational institutions reopened to all individuals on a case-by-case basis||– All sports are allowed for all individuals, subject to SOP|
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