Malaysia Healthcare Chronicles

The End Starts With You: Here’s How We Can Effectively Navigate Through Endemicity

For over a year, COVID-19 has affected everyone globally and countries are doing all they can to curb the spread of the virus. Closer to home, Malaysia is looking at #ReopeningSafely, especially as the country progresses towards living with COVID-19 as an endemic.

As we navigate through this transition phase, it’s important that collectively as a nation, we take steps to empower ourselves and our community to not only take charge in curbing the spread of the virus, but also to prioritise our health and wellbeing.

We urge everyone to get vaccinated, comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), stay informed, and take ownership of your health – because #TheEndStartsWithYou.

Here’s how we can all work together as we navigate through endemicity:

Wear your face mask correctly

Ever wondered how face masks are crucial to prevent the spread of the virus? Face masks help prevent respiratory droplets from reaching others when one talks, coughs, or sneezes. According to a study, normal breathing without a mask is capable of carrying saliva with virus droplets to a distance of 2.2 metres in 90 seconds. However, using a face mask helps reduce the distance travelled by these droplets to 0.72 metres after almost two minutes.[1]

It is important that Malaysians do their part in wearing the right face masks to protect those around them, even if they don’t feel sick.[2] COVID-19 is highly infectious and mainly spreads through close contact. As a matter of fact, experts recommend wearing a face mask both outdoors and indoors, especially around people who are not from the same household to minimise the spread of infections.

It is said that adding layers of material or in other words, double masking, helps contain respiratory droplets from escaping a face mask. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation, double masking can reduce a person’s exposure to the virus of up to 95%.[3] The practice of double masking has also been encouraged by the Director-General of Health Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah.[4] He mentioned that double masking helps filter more virus particles as compared to wearing a single cloth mask.[5]

Some face masks that can help us do our part in containing the virus are surgical/disposable face masks, and fabric face masks. When using surgical or disposable masks, it is important to ensure that they are disposed and replaced every four to five hours while fabric face masks must be washed at least once a day. When handling any kind of face masks, ensure that your hands are clean and that it covers the face well to protect the people around you.

When using face masks, it’s important to note the following:[6]

  • Do not wear face masks that have been ripped or are damp.
  • Do not wear face masks over your nose or mouth only.
  • Do not remove your face masks when conversing with others.
  • Do not leave your face masks within the reach of another.
  • Do not reuse your disposable face masks.

Get vaccinated – Lindungi diri, lindungi semua

Malaysia’s rampant rollout of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme (PICK) has shown positive progress in several areas including the number of people vaccinated, and cases admitted to public hospitals. As of 26 October 2021, Malaysia has successfully fully inoculated more than 73 and 94 per cent of its whole population and adult population respectively.

Here’s exactly why you need to get vaccinated:[7]

  • Getting vaccinated will help prevent you from getting seriously ill from COVID-19
    • It is said that adults aged 65 years and older, are 94% less likely to be hospitalised with the COVID-19 virus as compared to those who aren’t vaccinated.[8]
  • Getting vaccinated will help build protection
    • When someone gets vaccinated, it helps create antibodies resulting in the person experiencing less severe symptoms of the disease.
  • Getting vaccinated puts Malaysia on track to fully inoculate the population.
    • Other than wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing, getting vaccinated means that the vaccine works with your immune system to fight the virus when your body is exposed to it.

All of you are key in supporting our government’s efforts to manage the pandemic and registering for vaccination here can reduce the further spread of the virus.

Take charge of your health

While COVID-19 has been the main health headline, it is important that we steer our focus back towards our most valuable investment: our health. Health is paramount, and it will be the first line of defence (aside from vaccinations) as we prepare ourselves in a world where COVID-19 is endemic. This will be important not only to mitigate severe symptoms associated with the virus, but also for other health concerns and general wellbeing.

We encourage all of you to conduct regular health screenings at one of our 73 member hospitals, offering world-class healthcare services that are accessible, affordable and of premium quality.

Visit www.malaysiahealthcare.org to find a healthcare facility that meets your health needs.

Here some additional steps you can take to do your part:[9]

Practice physical distancing

Regardless of whether you are indoors or outdoors, maintain a 6-feet distance between those around us. It is important to keep in mind that the virus can spread even if a person isn’t showing any symptoms.

Wash your hands frequently

Practice hand hygiene by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after you’ve been to a public place, coughed, sneezed, and/or blown your nose. Another way of keeping your hands clean while you’re on the go is by sanitising your hands.  Keep in mind to not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth before washing your hands.

Ensure your health is monitored daily

Be alert for any COVID-19 symptoms and monitor your temperature if symptoms persist. If you are still feeling unwell, seek medical help immediately or take the COVID-19 self-test kit at home.

Stand united to battle the pandemic

When you find out that someone has been infected with the virus, do your part by asking how you can support. For example: leaving groceries outside their door or checking in on them virtually. You can also choose to support certain organisations involved in helping underprivileged communities during these challenging times. Let’s fall back on our ‘Kita Jaga Kita’ movement.

By continuing to empower ourselves and our community to take action in curbing the spread of the virus, this will also show support and appreciation to our Unsung Heroes, who have been fighting relentlessly to battle COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

As we begin to live with the virus, it is important that we look at our health and wellbeing in its entirety and prioritise living a healthier life.

To keep our community safe: get vaccinated, remain vigilant, stay informed, ensure proper mask care, and take health ownership, because #TheEndStartsWithYou.

Disclaimer: Please consult your physician or visit any of our member hospitals for more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and how you can benefit from it.



[1] https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2021/06/22/covid-shorts-why-wearing-masks-properly-can-save-your-life/

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7007e1.htm

[4] https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/05/22/covid-19-wearing-of-double-facemasks-recommended-says-health-dg

[5] https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/doublemasking-helps-filter-more-particles-says-dr-noor-hisham

[6] http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/face-mask/

[7] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html

[8] https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0428-vaccinated-adults-less-hospitalized.html

[9] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

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