‘I APOLOGISE FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART’ – RELIGIOUS MINISTER: APOLOGY ACCEPTED, BUT TELL YOUR BOSS MUHYIDDIN – IT’S HIS FALSE OPTIMISM, COMPLACENCY & DOUBLE-STANDARDS ON COMPLIANCE THAT HAVE PUT MALAYSIA ON THE BRINK OF HELL – UNABLE TO IMPLEMENT ANOTHER NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN EVEN AS COVID-19 RAMPAGES AGAIN, THIS TIME MORE DEADLY, MORE AGGRESSIVE & MORE INFECTIOUS THAN BEFORE

KUALA LUMPUR— Minister of Religious Affairs Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri has apologised to Malaysians after testing positive for Covid-19.

He was heavily criticised for not self-quarantining following his return from Sabah and instead carrying out a packed schedule that saw him criss-crossing the peninsula on official business.

“I am, from the bottom of a truly sincere heart, once again apologising for what happened,” he tweeted on his official Twitter account this morning.

Zulkifli, who confirmed that he had tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, has also advised all those who have attended any events that he had participated in between September 24 and October 4 to undergo a Covid-19 screening at any health clinic immediately.

His diagnosis also means that all attendees of a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Department on October 3 are now under a 14-day house quarantine, including the prime minister and most Cabinet ministers.

Zulkifli’s diagnosis comes after an exponential surge of Covid-19 cases nationwide over the past few days, with the country recording a new record-high of 432 cases today. MALAY MAIL

No need for nationwide lockdown for now, say experts

PETALING JAYA: There is no need for a nationwide lockdown for now, despite daily three-digit spikes in Covid-19 infections, say experts.

Community transmission stayed low and could be curbed with targeted movement control orders such as those imposed in Sabah and Kedah, said Universiti Malaya expert virologist Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar.

“But this would only be effective if there is a high degree of compliance, ” he said, adding that imposing a nationwide lockdown would be catastrophic for the economy.

“We should tackle the problem’s root causes – false optimism, complacency and lack of compliance with preventive measures, ” he said.

“The authorities need to rigorously emphasise the importance of good air circulation, ventilation and air exchanges at all indoor spaces where people gather, ” he said.

Malaysian Medical Association president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said incidences of the virus have been identified and localised.

But Dr Subramaniam stressed on the need for strict compliance and enforcement of the orders for them to be effective in curbing the spread.

“Whenever there is a drop in enforcement, we see a drop in compliance, ” he added.

Universiti Malaya public health expert Prof Dr Sanjay Rampal said it will take between one and two weeks to see the results of control orders.

“The public should be better educated on what to expect and the indicators being monitored and used by the authorities for decision making.

“This will empower the public to be better prepared to asses risk and appreciate planned changes, ” he said.

Dr Sanjay added the movement control order would help decrease the transmission risk more drastically within the affected areas. – ANN

MALAY MAIL / ANN

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