The National Recovery Plan (NRP) is the guideline and effort of bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control whilst ensuring society as a whole can return to normal, post-pandemic. Below are what each phase means in Malaysia as more states move into Phase 2 of the NRP roadmap:
What are the phases?
Phase 1: This phase carries the tightest COVID-19 lockdown rules with most activities being prohibited or carrying tight restrictions. This includes no inter-state and inter-district travel, only essential services being in operation with capacity and hours restriction and no social activities outside your own home.
Phase 2: Relaxation of restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated where the list of services and activities permitted in Phase 1 are expanded both with higher capacity and longer hours.
Phase 3: With the COVID-19 pandemic under control, more rules are relaxed in Malaysia. All educational institutions are reopened, non-contact sports both indoors and outdoors are permitted, house visits are permitted subject to capacity limits and domestic travel is allowed
Phase 4: Represents our return to the new normal where: all sectors can operate at full capacity, social gatherings are permitted and both domestic and international travel are allowed but remain subjected to SOPs and government assessments.
What is allowed in Phase 2 for the fully vaccinated?
Inter-district travel: Permitted for individuals who are fully vaccinated including long-distance married couples and parents separated from their children.
Religious activities: Fully vaccinated individuals are permitted to perform religious activities in their house of worship subject to capacity limits set out by the state authorities.
Dine-in services: Restaurants are allowed to operate and only fully vaccinated individuals may dine in whilst making sure to maintain social distancing.
Sports activities: All outdoor, non-contact sports are permitted while a limited number of indoor sports activities are allowed but remain subject to local authorities’ approval.
Tourism: Travelling and tourism in the same state are permitted with limited capacity.
Businesses: More businesses are allowed to open and serve fully vaccinated Malaysians with the exception of high-risk businesses or organisations such as spas, massage parlours, cyber cafes, casinos, theme parks and zoos. Public sectors can operate at a 60% capacity while private sectors can operate with 80% of employee attendance.
What are the risks?
While vaccinated individuals have higher protection against COVID-19, a certain degree of risk remains. It is also important to remember that children are still unable to get vaccinated and parents or those living with children must reduce their risk of infection as much as possible.
Is outdoor dining safer than indoors?
According to the CDC and the current data available, the most common transmissions are through close contact with a person with COVID-19. Although there are certain instances where people have been infected from more than 2 metres away, restaurants with outdoor seating, social distancing and good ventilation are likely to be less risky than indoor restaurants.
Other factors to consider:
- Businesses’ stringency in enforcing the SOPs
- Restaurant layout and seating arrangements
- Members of your own party that may be unvaccinated i.e. children under your care
- Daily number of COVID-19 cases in your community
What can the fully vaccinated elderly Malaysians do?
While some states are transitioning into Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan, news about the newly found variants of the virus and the frequently changing guidelines can add to the uncertainty of concerned individuals. It is essential to know which COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted for our fully vaccinated citizens in Malaysia and how this affects the senior category aged 60 and above as well as those in the high-risk groups.
We’ve compiled a list of Q&As on low- to high-risk activities in Phase 2 so you can make an informed decision with adherence to standard safety measures.
Engaging the Right Care Professional For Your Loved One
Low to moderate risk activities for the elderly
Should seniors get a haircut now?
Barbershops and hair salons are now allowed to operate from 6 am to 10 pm for basic hair services only. For added safety, check with the barber or hairdresser by giving them a call to ensure they are following the SOPs. At a minimum, they should use face masks and gloves, and cut by appointment only or limit the number of customers in their shop.
Is it safe for seniors to enter shopping malls or markets?
Among the retail categories that are allowed to resume operations are:
- Hypermarkets, supermarkets, morning and night markets
- Departmental stores
- Furniture and hardware shops
- Eyewear and optical goods
- Restaurants and eateries
- Wholesale and distribution
For the full list, please refer to the National Recovery Plan – SOP Phase 2 here.
Individuals who have completed their vaccinations are allowed entry to these business premises by producing their digital vaccination certificates. As a safety precaution and for your own peace of mind, always remember to practise social distancing and avoid crowded areas.
Can seniors resume their exercise group activities at public parks?
Outdoor lovers rejoice! All public recreational parks are reopened for leisure activities to encourage the public to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle. This is great news for our seniors because outdoor activities can relax the mind and alleviate stress on mental health. Physical activities are also known to build immunity against COVID-19. So put on your running shoes and head on out!
Your senior loved one might be wondering if their exercise kaki can resume group exercises or activities, however, the government still advises that any sports and recreational activities are to be done outdoors and individually. We recommend these outdoor activities without physical contact at a 1-meter distance as per the usual: Jogging, tai chi, cycling, exercising, fishing, golfing, horseback riding and the like.
Gyms and fitness centres are also slowly reopening but we would caution to assess the ventilation and sanitation measures put in place. Indoor sports and recreational activities will be allowed under close supervision.
High-risk activities for the elderly
The activities on the list below are activities that are allowed for the fully vaccinated, including our seniors. Having said that, these activities are still considered high risk for the elderly if you do not adhere strictly to the SOP.
- Is it okay to dine out with family members?
On-site dining is also allowed at restaurants and eateries from 6 am to 10 pm for individuals who have received complete vaccinations. The SOPs for dine-in remain the same as the general health protocols apply, with a capacity of 50% per table and physical distancing of at least 1 meter. Individuals are also required to present their vaccination e-certificate.
While the doors are beginning to open at F&B outlets, we encourage you to ask the necessary questions that may help you make a better-informed decision for yourself and your senior loved ones:
- Is the restaurant complying strictly with the SOPs?
- Is the restaurant well-ventilated and spaced out for my family’s safety?
- Are all the restaurant staff vaccinated?
- Is there a limit to how long you should spend in restaurants?
- Can I start travelling with family and friends who are also fully vaccinated?
Other perks for the fully vaccinated folks includes travelling across districts with no limit to the number of passengers in a vehicle. This might be a relief especially for those who have not visited their loved ones for prolonged periods of time.
It might be tempting to start planning vacation trips with the extended family, but the SOPs in place might differ according to the different phases from district to district and state to state. We encourage waiting it out until things normalise for Malaysia. Perhaps some family members are still waiting to receive their second dose of vaccine. It’s a good idea to be safe, not sorry. For the full list of phases, click here.
- Are we allowed to visit places of worship for religious activities?
Prayer and other religious activities at places of worship, mosques and suraus, are allowed for those who are fully vaccinated, but this is subjected to regulations made by the local authorities.
Check out our previous article for more fun activities for seniors to stay active and lead a fulfilling life in independence.
What is still not allowed?
Social butterflies might be itching to gather at social activities and see familiar faces once again, but some activities remain on the prohibited list. Among them are:
- Public gatherings, celebrations and social activities such as festive celebrations, feasts, birthday or anniversary parties, or any other public activities.
- Wellness and treatment services such as spa, massage, manicure or pedicure, and reflexology.
- Workshops, conferences, talks, exhibitions and any other types of events.
- Tourism activities at public tourist attractions like family entertainment centres, karaoke centres, performance activities, museums or art galleries.
What we can do while we wait for things to normalise
Safety practices for peace of mind
As a general rule, continue to practise safety measures such as double masking and keeping one metre apart to keep our community safe at large. This applies to all — the non-vaccinated, the partially-vaccinated and the fully-vaccinated alike.
Key points to note
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness and death. However, the vaccine is not a guarantee that you will not catch the virus. You should still keep an eye out for symptoms of COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you might still spread the virus to others.
- If you’ve been around someone who is not well or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please get tested, stay home and away from others. If your test is positive, practise self-quarantine at home for 10 days.
- People with comorbidity are those who have pre-existing health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, low immunity, asthma, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke or obesity. These individuals, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, have weakened immune systems and may not be protected even if fully vaccinated. Please consult a qualified medical professional to determine your current comorbidity status.
Have you been vaccinated?
JKJAV reported on 10 September 2021 that 64.5 per cent of the total population in Malaysia have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Malaysia had fully vaccinated at least 82% of its senior citizens.
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
Read about vaccine efficacy rates here.
Walk-in vaccination initiatives for several states
Walk-in vaccinations are available at 13 vaccination centres (PPVs) in the Klang Valley on a first-come-first-served basis, depending on the availability of vaccine supply at the PPV. Perhaps your senior missed your second dose of the vaccination, you can visit any PPV near your home.
If you or your senior haven’t registered for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, you must do so via MySejahtera or go to the website to make an appointment.
If you need assistance with vaccination escort, our dedicated Care Professional is equipped to escort your loved one to the vaccination site and provide safe manual transfers.
Are you struggling to care for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff at Homage are available to offer assistance. Get in touch with us to provide them with the care they deserve. Fill up the form below and our Care Advisors will reach out to you within 24-hours!
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