NSC meeting to deliberate on enforcing full-scale MCO

A full-scale movement control order is among the measures to be considered by the National Security Council (NSC) in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the matter would be assessed and decided on by the Covid-19 NSC meeting in Putrajaya. “The Federal Government sees the spread of Covid-19 as very serious and based on Wednesday’s statistics, Malaysia has recorded a total of 485,496 or close to half a million positive cases,” he said. He said the death toll had exceeded 2,000 and this was a matter of great concern. However, he said the government was also aware that the number of recoveries too had increased. Takiyuddin said the government had implemented the MCO, recovery MCO, conditional MCO and enhanced MCO either fully or targeted depending on the situation to curb the spread of the virus. (The Star)

Senior citizens can apply for AstraZeneca vaccination from May 23 to 26

The second phase of applications for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be open exclusively for senior citizens aged 60 and above from May 23 to 26, said National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. He said bookings for vaccination slots can be made via the website at https://www.vaksincovid.gov.my/ and through community outreach at the district health office level. “After May 26, applications will be open to those under the age of 60,” he said. Khairy, who is also Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, said the second phase of the AstraZeneca vaccination is also being extended to other states apart from the Klang Valley, namely Johor, Sarawak and Penang, which are currently recording high Covid-19 figures. The second phase of the vaccination will also prioritise individuals who are on the first round waiting list. (The Edge)

On May 2, the government opened registration for the AstraZeneca vaccine voluntarily and openly for eligible individuals 18 years old and above. (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)
AstraZeneca vaccine (Source: The Edge)

PM: Asia should lead in lifting drug patents

Asia should lead the way in opening up patent protections to produce cheaper generic versions of life-saving medicines for critical diseases, from Covid-19 to HIV/AIDS, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Welcoming US President Joe Biden’s administration’s stated intention to support the temporary waiver of intellectual property (IP) protection for Cocid-19 vaccine, he said this should give way to a total transformation of the pharmaceutical patent system. Muhyiddin said based on the United Nations (UN) Article 25(1) of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is high time for these innovations including drugs, vaccines and medical devices to be brought out of the purview of individual patent rights and for global property rights to be created instead. Stressing that Covid-19 infections must be suppressed as quickly as possible to prevent mutating variants that make the current vaccines obsolete, the prime minister, however, noted that there were man-made hurdles to this effort. He also said that the failure of global leadership to address the Covid-19 pandemic was due to human biases such as tribalism, dysfunctional competition and short-term thinking. (NST Online)

Kedah official says no-hope patients will no longer get into ICUs

Medical patients assessed with low chances of recovery will no longer be admitted to intensive care units (ICU) in Kedah, said state Health and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Hayati Othman. He told Berita Harian the difficult decision needed to be made despite remaining spaces in the state’s ICUs in order to maximise the survivability rate of patients that will occupy the beds. “I am conflicted about whether to disclose this situation or not, but it must be made known that in some cases, the doctors must choose if a patient should be sent to the ICU; if the patient is too chronic or has no hope, we will not admit him into the ICU,” he was quoted as saying. This includes patients who are not Covid-19 cases. Kedah is among states facing severe outbreaks of Covid-19, with another 417 new cases added yesterday. Another 59 deaths from Covid-19 — Malaysia’s highest in a single day — along with another 6,806 new cases was reported yesterday. (Malay Mail)

Workers wearing protective suits carry the body of a Covid-19 victim at a cemetery in Shah Alam May 18, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Workers wearing protective suits carry the body of a Covid-19 victim at a cemetery in Shah Alam May 18, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa/Malay Mail

Gaza truce between Israel and Hamas takes hold after 11 days of violence

An Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas began today and US President Joe Biden pledged to salve the devastated Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid after the worst fighting in years. In the countdown to the 2am cease-fire, Palestinian rocket salvoes continued and Israel carried out at least one air strike. Each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any truce violations by the other. Cairo said it would send two delegations to monitor the ceasefire. The violence erupted on May 10, triggered by Palestinians’ anger at what they assailed as Israeli curbs on their rights in Jerusalem, including during police confrontations with protesters at Al-Aqsa mosque during the Ramadan fasting month. Gaza health officials said 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, had been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments. Israel said it had killed at least 160 combatants. Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters. (Malay Mail)